Amazon charged with antitrust violations in Europe

November 12, 2020 by
Sanne Leenders

The European Commission has informed Amazon of its preliminary view that it has breached EU antitrust rules. The Commission takes issue with Amazon systematically relying on non-public business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace. To the benefit of Amazon's own retail business, which directly competes with those third party sellers.

The Commission also opened a second investigation regarding the possible preferential treatment of marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s fulfillment services.

EcommerceNews says that this should not come as a surprise for Amazon sellers. It has been widely known that the online marketplace knows which of your items are bestsellers, once you sell on the platform. And there is nothing stopping them from selling these items themselves.

Dual role platforms should not distort competition

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said: “We must ensure that dual role platforms with market power do not distort competition. Data on the activity of third party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers. The conditions of competition on the Amazon platform must also be fair.  Its rules should not artificially favor Amazon's own retail offers or advantage the offers of retailers using Amazon's logistics and delivery services. With e-commerce booming, and Amazon being the leading e-commerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers.”

In addition, the Commission opened a second antitrust investigation into Amazon's business practices that might artificially favor its own retail offers and offers of marketplace sellers that use Fulfillment by Amazon. In particular, the Commission will investigate whether the criteria that Amazon sets to select the winner of the “Buy Box” and to enable sellers to offer products to Prime users.

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