EU Commission accuse Amazon of abusing competition rules

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The EU have accused Amazon of abusing competition rules and using data from 3rd party merchants selling on it’s marketplace to boost sales of Amazon own brands in France and Germany.

The EU Commission also opened a second formal antitrust investigation into the possible preferential treatment of Amazon’s own retail offers and those of marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President and EU Competition Commissioner said that it was imperative that marketplaces did not distort competition.

“We must ensure that dual role platforms with market power, such as Amazon, 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 favour Amazon’s own retail offers or advantage the offers of retailers using Amazon’s logistics and delivery services. With ecommerce booming, and Amazon being the leading e-commerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers.”
– Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President, EU Commission

The Commission’s preliminary findings show that very large quantities of non-public seller data are available to employees of Amazon’s retail business and flow directly into the automated systems of that business, which aggregate these data and use them to calibrate Amazon’s retail offers and strategic business decisions to the detriment of the other marketplace sellers. For example, it allows Amazon to focus its offers in the best-selling products across product categories and to adjust its offers in view of non-public data of competing sellers.

This competition rules investigation won’t affect marketplaces such as eBay and OnBuy who don’t compete with the small businesses that sell on their platforms. However the reach could be further than Amazon and bring other retailer come marketplaces under the spotlight, although there is no suggestion that other platforms have abused data from their 3rd party merchants.

“Any ecommerce platform that positions itself in direct competition with its sellers has a flawed business model. That’s why I started – to create a fairer, more ethical sales platform and a level playing field for all”
– Cas Paton, CEO & Founder, OnBuy

Amazon naturally refuted the suggestion that they abuse their dominant market position or break competition rules, emphasising that they are a champion of small businesses.

“Amazon represents less than 1% of the global retail market, and there are larger retailers in every country in which we operate. No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon.”
– Amazon

4 Responses

  1. … and maybe the EU could also look at why Amazon awards the Buy Box to itself even when its own offer has a higher price than 3rd party FBA retailers and even when Amazon has no stock.

  2. How can amazon deny it.
    They charge customers £7.99 monthly for a prime service of tv and free shipping. Of which most customers rarely watch the tv offerings as they are nothing special. so its mainly for free shipping. then they allow sellers to use the prime shipping badge. Yet they removed the ability to send 48 shipping and only allow 24 which costs upwards of £5.
    Then they dictate who a seller can ship with.
    Then an item is labelled using Amazon not anyone else and the journey starts.

    If it gets collected from us on time but not scanned by royal mail till after midnight.
    If its delayed in transit and arrives with the customer after the date given.

    So then they contact us with all the usual threats about account suspensions etc.

    Then to prove the EU’s point Amazon then contact us about using their own shipping and say then any delays will not count against you.

    Now we keep getting messages about non returning item refunds.
    What a business model that is.

    An item bought and shipped for £10 total just given to the buyer because they know this may be the case.

    Oh it has a scratch on the bottom how do i return then if you tell them they suddenly say oh no worries i will use it as its hidden.

    They have realised we want it back.

    Every thing Amazon does is to grab money from anywhere and use sellers to do it for them.

  3. we had an item along with the supplier whos family actually own the factory in china.

    Only him and us had it and we listed together on amazon seller fulfilled prime. within a day it was on Amazon as Fulfilled by Amazon. he immediatley rang and asked i fi had supplied them on FBA i had not so we tried something.
    While talking on the phone we removed the prime and put it as free shipping exactly at the same time within 30 seconds the item was now saying out of stock for amazon.
    we then waited an hour and put it back on seller prime and yep it was back on FBA.

    We found that they are internally directing items to a seller for a number of reasons.

    1) A person when asked where the bought an item from says Amazon they rarely say joe boggs on Amazon.
    2) They would need warehouses the size of North America to stock all the items they claim to have.
    3) They still get the sale percentage but no risk.
    4) You think you are doing well so you stick with them.
    5) if it selles massively they will suddenly actually aquire it.
    6) They still get the Prime subscription
    7) You have the warehousing costs.
    8) You have the shipping costs.
    9) You have the returns cost.
    10) You have the risk of lost or damage.

    I daresay there is absolutely loads more reasons but that is just a few.
    Free shipping without offering Prime is the only way to stop it as they cannot then dictate the speed and service used. But of course you still get the same money.


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