A new collective claim – UK Buy Box Claim – alleges that Amazon has breached UK and EU competition law directing users of its website and app to offers that benefit Amazon while concealing offers that may be better for consumers.
The argument goes that Amazon is using its control over access to the Buy Box, which favours Amazon’s own products or products sold by a seller that uses Amazon’s order fulfilment services. Sure you might be able to find products at a lower cost from alternative sellers, but you’d have to have the know how to go looking for them and so may well be paying higher prices.
What this argument misses is that millions have paid for Amazon Prime offering free expedited delivery and often those people might not care if an item is available cheaper. They’ve already brought into the service element and simply want to click, pay and have a delivery tomorrow, if not sooner.
Plus of course, the Buy Box also takes into account seller standing as well as price. It’s certainly not unusual to find a seller offer a product with no competition and still fail to win the Buy Box, either because their price is deemed too high, their delivery is too slow, their seller metrics are less than desirable or many other factors the algorithm takes into account.
The UK Buy Box Claim is a class action including anyone based in the UK who purchased goods on Amazon.co.uk or the Amazon app in the last 6 years. If you don’t want to be included you can opt out, otherwise the people acting on your behalf are Hausfeld & Co LLP… the LLP indicates this is an America company operating in the UK – America is the home of class action law suits.
Amazon have indicated that this UK Buy Box Claim is without merit, and stated that they work to offer low prices coupled with fast delivery. They also point out that in the UK some 85,000 small businesses sell on the platform and that over half of all products sold are from third party sellers.