Amazon in France to face fine for abusing dominant market position

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Amazon in France is facing a fine for having abused its dominant market position when it comes to pricing, according to a government watchdog.

A two-year investigation by the DGCCRF consumer fraud watchdog in France says the Finance Department is now seeking a fine of €10 million. And in the grander scheme of the Amazon world that really doesn’t sound like very much money at all.

What’s the charge against Amazon in France? “The platform imposes unbalanced relations to its vendors,” DGCCRF official Loic Tanguy told Le Parisien newspaper.

Amazon can, for instance, unilaterally change contract terms or even suspend contracts it has with the more than 10,000 French companies using its platform to sell their goods. That will sound familiar to Amazon merchants.

In France an official from the Economy Ministry confirmed a complaint had been filed against Amazon but declined to comment further. Similarly, a spokesman for Amazon said the company does not comment on ongoing legal processes.

Any seller on Amazon in France, and indeed anywhere else in the world, will be keenly aware that Amazon not only hosts the marketplace but acts as a competitor. And so the French watchdog’s point that they can easily change the terms of service and cripple a third party seller’s business overnight is both accurate and apposite. But it is by no means clear how often that occurs.

It’s hard to contemplate any other arena where the host has such access to marketplace data from third party sellers and therefore has such an opportunity to use that data to make its own commercial decisions of what to sell and for how much.

Have you experienced problems when Amazon has inched into your arena of sales?

4 Responses

  1. UK GOVERNMENT TAKE NOTE! Stop this vile animal ( Amazon) from destroying our businesses. Well done France



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