Court of Appeal Amsterdam: “Schiphol Airport is not required to provide access to VATfree”

15 October 2019

Tourists and other non-residents of the European Union can get a refund of the VAT of their purchases in the EU. A number of companies in the Netherlands assist tourists in this administrative process, in exchange for a percentage of the refunded amount of VAT. VATfree is one of these companies. It used to operate a service desk as well as its own post box in the Arrivals section of Schiphol Airport. After the cooperation with Schiphol had ended in 2016, no new agreement was concluded between the airport and VATfree.

In these proceedings, VATfree claimed access to Schiphol Airport based on competition law. It claimed that Schiphol abused its dominant position by denying VATfree access to the airport grounds. Schiphol denied these claims. The Court of Appeal sides with Schiphol and denies VATfree’s claim, because the definition of the relevant market by VATfree proved to be too narrow.

The judgement of the Court of Appeal was published on October 1st 2019 (link). Pepijn van Ginneken and Hanneke Kooijman represented Schiphol.