Delivery companies terminate cooperation in distribution of unaddressed admail and leaflets

As members of the Finnish Direct Marketing Association, Posti and SSM – Suomen Suoramainonta Oy had agreed not to deliver advertisements and free papers to households that had placed a “No advertising mail” notice on their letterbox. Hence, the agreement between the competitors seemed to deprive households of the option of saying “yes to free papers, no to advertisements”. This arrangement may have affected the functioning of competition in the distribution, delivery and advertising markets. Posti and SSM have stated that they will terminate this procedure and decide independently on delivery in future.

Posti and SSM are mutually competing companies with a significant market share in the delivery of papers and advertisements. Both companies are members of the Finnish Direct Marketing Association, within which they agreed on the so-called code of conduct for unaddressed delivery. According to the code, free papers are not delivered to households that have placed a “No advertising mail” notice on their letterbox.

The ban on the delivery of advertising is based on the Consumer Protection Act, but the companies had decided to extend the delivery ban to unaddressed free papers as well as advertising. This made it impossible for households to receive free papers only. Instead, they were forced to accept or refuse both advertisements and free papers.

According to a preliminary assessment by the FCCA, the procedure applied by Posti and SSM has limited their mutual competition in the unaddressed delivery of free papers. In addition, the procedure may have distorted competition between journalistic newspapers and in sales of advertising in printed media. The FCCA has investigated the issue on the basis of a request for action by the Finnish Newspapers Association.

During the FCCA’s investigations, the Finnish Direct Marketing Association announced that the two organisations would abandon the code of conduct for unaddressed delivery. Likewise, Posti and SSM stated that they would no longer apply the code and would decide independently on unaddressed delivery from now on.

Households still have the right to refuse unaddressed advertising under the Consumer Protection Act, but in the future Posti and SSM will have the possibility to distribute free papers with editorial content to households which have banned the delivery of unaddressed advertising. The FCCA terminated its processing of the case on 9 May 2016.

Further information: Samuli Muotka, Research Officer, tel. +358 29 505 3680