Apple Inc. is denying allegations that it is price-fixing rates for iPhones in Russia. The nation’s federal antitrust group issued a statement Monday indicating it would be opening a case to investigate claims that Apple and more than a dozen resellers conspired to fix prices.
“The Anti-Monopoly Service sees signs of price-fixing violations in the Russian Federation at Apple iPhone resellers, which resulted in the same prices for these smartphones,” said Russia’s Federal Anti-Monopoly Services (FAS) in a statement, reports Reuters.
Apple has since denied the accusations. “Resellers set their own prices for the Apple products they sell in Russia and around the world," said the company’s press office to Reuters.
According to the anti-monopoly body, a citizen first alerted officials with information suggesting that Apple and its main resellers were coordinating prices for iPhone devices. The citizen reportedly found iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S models were priced at the same rate across 16 resellers in October 2015 and stayed stead over a certain period of time. The retailers being investigated are: MTS, M.Video, Beeline, Eldorado, Evroset’, OZON, Re:Store, Svyaznoy, Megafon, Yulmart, Media Markt, Citylink, Kholodilnik.ru, DNS, ION (Know-How), and Tekhnosila.
“The FAS Russia suggests that such a coincidence might be a result of the Russian resellers’ price-setting coordination by the group Apple, which has led to fixing prices in the Russian market and setting the so-called “recommended” prices as obligatory,” said the FAS on its website.
Should the FAS find the tech company to be guilty, it has the authority to impose a fine. According to Andrei Filimonov, who runs the FAS’s anti-cartel unit, companies could be fined up to 15 percent of iPhone sales revenue.