By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BRUSSELS (AP) - The European Union will analyze an antitrust complaint that accuses fast food giant McDonald’s of abusing its dominant position at the expense of both its franchisees and consumers.

The complaint comes on top of an EU investigation opened last month into whether McDonald’s received a sweet tax deal from Luxembourg.

An alliance of Italian consumer groups backed by trade unions claims that McDonald’s forces franchisees to lease property it owns at excessive prices and imposes restrictive contracts. They say that can force franchisees to charge higher prices and offer inferior quality of goods to consumers.

McDonald’s defended its operating practices with franchisees.

It is now up to the EU to decide whether to accept the complaint and open an investigation into the case.

McDonald’s has almost 8,000 restaurants in Europe, of which about three-quarters are franchised.

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