Tamebay comment: Amazon Anonymous boycott could hurt SMEs

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amazon free challenge spCampaign group Amazon Anonymous is calling on British consumers to boycott Amazon this December. Using the hashtag #amazonfree on social media, they want people to pledge how much they won’t spend with Amazon before the end of the year. (We can only assume that buying on Amazon between January to November is just fine by them.)

There’s a totaliser on the website (in the old-fashioned church roof and Blue Peter sense) and thus far they claim to have stopped approaching £3m of spending.

amazon anon totaliser

You can read about their pitch on their website but here are the headlines:

“Christmas is Amazon’s busiest time of year – it’s also our best chance to disrupt their business. They don’t pay their workers a Living Wage. They dodge their tax. They take money away from our local shops. So this year, let’s take our money away from them.”

We’ve taken the time to read up on their positions and arguments. There’s no quarrel on some things.

Yes, in an ideal world, Amazon would pay a more equitable share of tax to the British Exchequer. But as we’ve said before, they’re not breaking the law. It’s the the law that’s broke.

And, of course, supporting local business is a good thing too. And that’s where the Amazon Anonymous argument falls flat on its smug face.

Tamebay estimates that at least one third of sales on Amazon UK comes from tax-paying UK small businesses. We know these sellers because they’re sellers like you.

We’re talking about small commercial concerns and family businesses providing employment in their local communities.

And Amazon sales supplement existing bricks & mortar firms, fuel ambitious start-ups, enable cottage industries and make second-income businesses possible. We also know numerous big SME companies who really rely on Amazon.

All these enterprises share similar burdens by paying employer NI where appropriate, VAT, corporation tax on profits and also business rates on premises. Employees for such SMEs pay income tax and NI too. It’s a slur to suggest that SMEs selling on Amazon dodge taxes. I bet plenty pay a Living Wage.

These Amazon SMEs are the very model of a local business because they pay up and employ staff too in locales all over the country. I wonder how many SME jobs are reliant on Amazon? It’s impossible to say and a disparate group makes an easy target for groups like Amazon Anonymous to target without a thought with regards to the consequences.

We oppose the Amazon Anonymous campaign here at Tamebay.

Not least because Amazon Anonymous IS entirely anonymous. There is no indication of who leads this boycott on their site and it’s always a bit odd when noone will show their face as part of a protest. They do share some animated GIFs from Downton Abbey though. Make of that what you will.

But the greatest concern is that the Amazon Anonymous campaign doesn’t even mention the many thousands of tax-paying UK SMEs who are selling on Amazon who could be hurt as a result of their masked campaign. The website doesn’t mention SME sales at all. Either the anonymous group is ignorant or doesn’t care.

Are you a taxpaying UK Amazon seller who could be affected by a boycott? What do you think?

We’ve asked Amazon Anonymous for a comment regarding the sales made on Amazon by SMEs because it isn’t addressed on the website. We wait for their reply.

15 Responses

  1. This is just absolutely ridiculous. First point to make is that by looking at the source code of the website it looks like the counter is just typed in. The code clearly shows the value and no sign of any code to show that it will adjust based on submission. I could be wrong and maybe somebody with a better understanding of coding could confirm it.

    Secondly and as Tamebay have stated, all this really does is hamper thousands of tax paying sellers who rely on Amazon for sales. Amazon is a huge platform and I encourage the anonymous creator to try to start an ecommerce business without using eBay or Amazon to grow the business. Without investing massive amounts of money in google ads its near impossible.

    This campaign which will be in no way effective is just a complete waste of time and if it were to succeed it would be responsible for the closing down of thousands of small businesses and startups across the country who fully pay their tax.

  2. Looking at the amateurish nature of the website, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was set up by a disgruntled customer’s 15 year old child with a bee in their bonnet about a missed delivery.

    I’m hoping nobody here takes it too seriously and gives it any further thought (unfortunately, Tamebay’s coverage has meant it’s likely been shared a few times already, but I understand the reasons for covering the story)


  3. Generally I hate SPAM with a passion, but on this occasion I’m hoping that all those individuals who have signed up for this nonsense and who have given their emails addresses get bombarded with it. I would laugh my socks off if the originator of this campaign was using Anti Amazon sentiment to build a massive mailing list so that they can sell their own products.

  4. I dont believe it possible to take any such organisation seriously when they are anonymous.

    I dont believe Amazon are the only large PLC who pay poor wages and have sharp tax practices. Campaign against them all or not at all

    As far as small businesses go. Well it there wasn’t the likes of Amazon and eBay then retail would be almost 100% dominated by large PLCs all with their sharp tax practices as as Craig says it would be very hard to start a business without their helping hand. Instead there are literally thousands of small organisations who dont have the funds to pay smart lawyers / accountants so instead cough up full and hefty VAT and TAX sums so some may say that Amazon benefit the public purse…..

  5. The counter hasn’t budged all morning despite multiple news articles about it? I’d say that throws the counters credibility out of the window, to add onto the fact it’s set up as 2 parts in the code…

    Lastly, pledged myself (I am a dirty liar) using a trash email account and the counter did not change

  6. I imagine the reason for being anonymous is because they don’t want to face the wrath of Amazon coming at them for various things including manipulation of their logo.

    Its a load of total nonsense and there is no way they have prevented that amount of orders.

    I reckon whoever created this should take a chill pill, sit down with a kindle and relax. Maybe even listen to an Audible book or catch a movie on Love Film.

  7. Actually – they’ve done me a favour by jogging my memory.

    Birthday present just purchased on Amazon.

    Thanks AA! – you just helped me out! 🙂


  8. Like other posters have said, it’s hard to take seriously an anonymous campaign, however I believe they have impacted on my Amazon selling this year. But it’s hard to tell which (for me) has done the most damage: the China based and Uk China fulfillment houses or this boycott.
    The Guardian newspaper seems to have helped this campaign a lot over the last few days as comments on their Facebook newsfeed suggests a high following.

    I get why they’re doing this, but they just haven’t thought it through properly and they’ve caused more harm than good.

    As for anonimity, Amazon employees (which they probably are) obviously can’t publish their real feelings next to their names as they’re be fired. Cowards. You can’t have you cake and eat it.

  9. I see captain anonymous has been reading this page and manually adjusted the code to show a higher value. Give it up please! You are trying to destroy peoples business at the most valuable time of the year.

  10. My wifes worked at NEXT for the last 5 Years. Begged for extra hour but they always say its no in her contract and legally they cant give her more hours, until they need people at 4am to get things ready for the sale a few times a year or when it suits them.

    In 5 years she has remained constantly on minimum wage, despite being the only staff member left from those that were there when she originally started.

    Should we all boycott NEXT as well ?

  11. I emailed Amazon Anonymous saying that Ebay is the only serious competitor to Amazon. I received no reply. They don’t even mention Ebay as an alternative supplier.
    Frustrated I shopped around as usual buying Blu Rays from That’s Entertainment,
    Amazon and EBay.
    My home cinema system came from Ebay at 20pc below anyone else’s selling price.
    Amazon continues to run their Boxing Day sale today and I have made considered purchases each day so far. They ran the same type of sale on Black Friday and I made two purchases.
    In HMV today the prices are significantly higher than the above 3 companies for Blu-Rays.
    Amazon is a great company and I have been a loyal customer for 12 years.
    Not perfect by any means but one of the best out there.


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