CSNA members with long memories will recall a time that every retailer in the country could sell postage stamps to their customers.
It was after the “modernisation “ of An Post during the Ministry of Mary O’Rourke that it was deemed appropriate that such sales could actually be carried out at a profit.
Prior to the change, they were bought from An Post and sold at the same face value; it was (and still is), an offence to sell a postage stamp at any price other than that notified to the Minister.
When An Post extended their range of services to include Gift Vouchers (One 4 All) and Telephone top-ups (PostPoint), they decided to give their 100% -owned subsidiary a “leg-up” by limiting the access of stamps for resale only to those with a PostPoint machine, selling a range of products and services through it .
CSNA challenged the legality of this action in the High Court and subsequently issued proceedings alleging anti-competitive behaviour.
We met the Competition Authority who suggested that as the end user ( the public) were not affected they were not inclined to expend resources against the Semi-State in a costly exercise.
Our contention was, and still is, that no company should try to force a retailer to buy a service or product at a disadvantageous rate merely to avail of a separate, unrelated product.
That is why we were filled with concern when we learned that An Post had secured the right to sell and distribute, for a five year period, LEAP transport products.
Our concern is two-fold;
1) the existing network of LEAP outlets need assurances that they will be permitted to continue to sell the products to their customers, and
2) Neither PostPoint or An Post will seek to apply additional Terms to the sale of Leap cards.
We do not believe it is fair to make the availability of products that have been funded through very significant State investments conditional on a retailer having to buy or make available unrelated products and services.
We publish our letter sent to Minister for Transport Eamonn Ryan TD. (See Here)