Amazon Anonymous comment on SMEs selling on Amazon

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Tamebay published a piece yesterday about the Amazon Anonymous campaign calling to boycott Amazon this December.

Our concern is that such a boycott unfairly impacts SMEs selling on Amazon who do pay tax in the form of NI, Income Tax, Corporation Tax, VAT and Business Rates etc. Many will also pay a living wage. On The Amazon Anonymous website third-party Amazon sellers don’t get a mention.

We did receive a reply from them and it’s published in full below.

In the first instance, it’s really odd that the email isn’t signed by any individual and it does seem feeble to make such a protest and yet not put your name to it, whilst also asking people to sign up for a boycott.

Secondly, to their credit, they seem open to helping people reach SMEs selling on Amazon. But seeing as their own website is so emphatic regarding a total Amazon website boycott, it’s well worth wondering how heartfelt that is.

Here is the text:

“Thanks for getting in touch. The boycott is specifically about not giving custom to Amazon during the month of December – we are instead encouraging supporters to use independent shops, whether on their local high street or online, as they are businesses likely to be making a proper contribution to society, as you outline.

We would encourage people – if they want to, to use Amazon’s marketplace to find other sellers for products, and to then go direct to those sellers and cut out Amazon.

This campaign started with 3 of us, now ex-Amazon customers, setting up a petition in response to how Amazon treats its workforce. It has since expanded to shine a spotlight on Amazon’s other dodgy practices – including their alleged tax avoidance and the way it reportedly treats other businesses (some of these tactics are well documented by the likes of the publishing industry, and some businesses who report that they are bullied or undercut by Amazon e.g.). The Christmas boycott is a tactic we are trying to get Amazon’s abuses in the limelight for holiday season, and to mobilise some consumer power against the company.

In the long run, we are looking for Amazon to change its business practices – if for instance, they were to treat their workers better, pay their fair share of tax and play fair to their competition, then everyone else – customers as well as other businesses in the UK – would stand to benefit.

Thanks again for contacting us – we would like the Amazon Anonymous campaign to support small retailers where it can, including those who might use Amazon marketplace. We’d be very open if you have any thoughts on how customers could reach these sellers directly, or on other tactics we might try.

Amazon Anonymous”

Would it be useful for Tamebay to put together tips to guide Amazon boycotters to SMES selling on Amazon?

8 Responses

  1. These guys really don’t get it.

    Amazon have a legal duty to minimise their tax payment to maximise profits for shareholders, as does any US based company. If they don’t they would be sued by their shareholders for not meeting their fiduciary duty.

    If the law allows it companies will do it. Amazon are far from alone in this, and there are many British companies doing the same things.

    The point of complaint should be to your MP and government if you think the tax laws are wrong. Don’t victimise a handful of companies because you think the tax laws are wrong. I agree it is troubling, but the companies are the wrong target.

    Secondly, why are Amazon being hit on the Living Wage front? Again this is victimisation. Any company who pays any member of staff the minimum wage does not pay the “Living Wage”. I wonder if Amazon Anonymous are boycotting their local pub/eatery also? No doubt many Amazon workers, whilst wanting to earn more, are happy to be earning something. I don’t see Amazon saying they can’t perform because of a shortage of staff, so clearly people are willing to work there.

    Again the solution is in the hands of government. Minimum Wage should equal Living Wage.

  2. It does seem like twisted logic. Most of the Amazon sellers we work with would be regarded as SMEs. Fair point about the wages though, Jeff Bezos is more focussed on the customer than his own workforce.

  3. No I dont think Tamebay should

    To respond would give them credibility when they dont deserve it for (a) being faceless and (b) on the main part talking nonsense

  4. >> Would it be useful for Tamebay to put together tips to guide Amazon boycotters to SMES selling on Amazon?

    Useful? Well, yes, probably for *someone*

    I think the question you should be asking is “should we”, not “would it be useful”.

    From my very personal point of view, as a seller who only sells via eBay and Amazon, I don’t think you should. Likewise as a regular customer of theirs, I have no problem with their business practices as long as they are following the law.

    Also, doesn’t Tamebay exist to support sellers of all sizes selling across all platforms? Is it appropriate you provide info to buyers to help them move away from those platforms that we pay fees to (regardless of how well / badly they perform)?


  5. Report news by all means but why promote irresponsible behaviour which is how it seems? If it is all about a level playing field then ebay are just as guilty as the EEC, politicians, government, local authorities and so on!

  6. we sell for a living and anything that effects our selling is not acceptable,
    if we want to get religious we go to church , if we want to get political we have the local council meeting for aversion therapy

  7. On the tax avoidance thingy a quote from the official government press release:-

    “The government is clamping down on tax avoidance by multinational companies

    Currently some large multinational companies divert profits abroad through complicated business structures, such as the so-called ‘double Irish’, in order to avoid paying taxes. The government is introducing a new tax to counter this.

    The ‘diverted profits tax’ will apply to a company’s profits that have been diverted from the UK through complex arrangements such as these, and will apply to both UK and foreign multinational companies.

    So if a company conducts a lot of activity in the UK – sales, for example – but can avoid paying corporation tax by moving profits generated in the UK to other countries through the manipulation of the international tax rules, the UK will now be able to tax those profits at a rate of 25%.”

    This will be introduced from April 2015.


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