The European Commission (EC) has accepted the commitments offered by Amazon in the case of monopolistic abuses in relation to the use of data of independent sellers using its platform. The abuses contrary to free competition laws also affected the 'Buy Box' shopping cart and its Prime service.
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In a statement, the EC has specified that 'the commitments prevent Amazon from using the data of independent sellers and oblige it to ensure fair access to the shopping cart and Prime." They also prevent it from applying "possible bias" when granting or not granting sellers access to its 'Buy Box' and Prime program.
"These commitments will be legally binding from June 2023, as the company has six months to put all the changes into practice," they have explained from Brussels.
With this agreement, which comes after Amazon improved some of its initial commitments after a first test during the summer, the Commission puts an end to two investigations opened in 2019 for abuse of position and practices against the fair competition for the use of private data of sellers and the way it influenced the access of sellers to its Prime program and the 'Buy Box'.
Specifically, Amazon has committed to improving the presentation of the second offer displayed in the shopping cart so that it is "more prominent" and to include a review mechanism in case the presentation does not attract adequate consumer attention.
In a pledge for transparency, Amazon Prime will establish "non-discriminatory criteria" for the qualification of sellers and offers.
The company will also increase transparency, and early information flows to sellers and carriers about commitments and their newly acquired rights, allowing, among other things, early switching of sellers to independent carriers.
In addition, it will establish the means for independent carriers to communicate directly with their Amazon customers in accordance with data protection rules, enabling them to provide delivery services equivalent to those offered by Amazon.
It will also improve the protection of carriers' data against use by Amazon's competing logistics services, in particular with respect to load profile information, and will increase the powers of the administrator in charge of supervision by introducing additional notification obligations and putting in place a centralized complaint mechanism, open to all sellers and carriers if there is suspicion that commitments have not been respected.
All in all, it seems Amazon is truly concerned about potential legal actions against them inside the EU territory, and it's trying hard to prevent any possible legal complications. Let’s see what happens in 2023!
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