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Brussels has launched a series of probes into suspected anti-competitive practices by online vendors that may have led to customers overpaying for things such as hotels, consumer electronics and video games.

The European Commission will look into whether agreements that block citizens from some countries buying products break the EU’s rules on cross border trade.

Big companies such as travel agent TUI and Valve Corporation, which owns the popular Steam game distribution platform, will be examined.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “E-commerce should give consumers a wider choice of goods and services, as well as the opportunity to make purchases across borders.”

She added: “We are looking into whether these companies are breaking EU competition rules by unfairly restricting retail prices or by excluding customers from certain offers because of their nationality or location.”

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