Handling of Complaints Admissibility

Handling of Complaints Admissibility

Handling of Complaints: Admissibility

Citizens and undertakings are encouraged to inform the Commission about suspected infringements of competition rules. There are two ways: market information, and a complaint under Article 7(2) of Regulation No 1/2003.

More about Handling of Complaints Admissibility

Citizens and undertakings who wish to inform the Commission about suspected infringements of Articles 101 or 102 are invited to write to the Commission. This information can be the starting point for a Commission investigation, but it does not trigger the formal complaints procedure.

More about the Subject

Formal complaints formulated on the basis of Article 7(2) of Regulation No 1/2003 oblige the Commission to react in specific ways. Commission Regulation No 773/2004, in its Articles 5 to 9, lays down specific rules concerning the handling of such complaints. In addition, a Commission Notice on the handling of complaints by the Commission under Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty 1 (“Notice on Complaints”) provides guidance on the subject.

Other Considerations

A formal complaint can only be made about an alleged infringement of Article 101 and/or 102 of the Treaty by undertakings. 2 In addition, the complainant must show a legitimate interest. Finally a complaint has to comply with Form C that is annexed to Regulation 773/2004. 3


Where a submission does not concern Articles 101 and/or 102 TFEU at all, the sender is informed accordingly. If applicable, the sender is informed of the transfer of the matter to the competent DG. 4


The following are considered to, in principle, have a legitimate interest 5 : – undertakings (themselves or through associations entitled to represent their interests 6 ) can claim a legitimate interest where they are operating in the relevant product market or where the conduct complained of is liable to directly and adversely affect their interests; 7 – consumer associations can also lodge complaints with the Commission; 8 – individual consumers are considered to be in a position to show a legitimate interest when their economic interests have been harmed or are likely to be harmed as a result of the restriction of competition in question; 9 – local or regional public authorities may be able to show a legitimate interest in their capacity as buyers or users of goods or services affected by the conduct complained of; – Member States are deemed to have a legitimate interest for all complaints they choose to lodge.


See Also


  • Information about Handling of Complaints Admissibility in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)


[Note 1]
OJ C 101, 27.4.2004, p. 65.
[Note 2]
No formal complaint can be made under Regulation No 1/2003 about infringements by Member States. Sometimes a complaint also concerns a state measure caught by Article 106 TFEU or by Article 4(3) TEU. In such circumstances, the different aspects of the complaint will be handled separately.
[Note 3]
Article 5(2) of Regulation 773/2004. Also explained in Notice on Complaints, paragraph 29.
[Note 4]
It may also be appropriate to point the sender to other bodies that might be of assistance (e.g. consumer protection bodies, Ombudsman etc.).
[Note 5]
Cf. also the explanations in the Notice on Complaints, paras 33 et seq.
[Note 6]
Joined Cases T-133/95 and T-204/95, International Express Carriers Conference (IECC) v Commission, [1998] ECR II-3645, paragraphs 79-83. As confirmed in Joined cases T-213 and 214/01 (Austrian Banks) paragraph 112.
[Note 7]
This confirms the established practice of the Commission according to which a legitimate interest can, for instance, be claimed by the parties to the agreement or practice which is the subject of the complaint, by competitors whose interests have allegedly been damaged by the behaviour complained of or by undertakings excluded from a distribution system. Cf. Article 36 of the Notice on Complaints.
[Note 8]
Case T-37/92, Bureau Européen des Unions des Consommateurs (BEUC) v Commission, [1994] ECR II-285, para 36.
[Note 9]
Joined cases T-213 and T-214/01 Österreichische Postsparkasse e.a. v Commission [2006] ECR II-1601, paragraph 114.

Further Reading

  • Information about Handling of Complaints Admissibility in “An Introduction to EU Competition Law”, Moritz Lorenz (Cambridge University Press)

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