Amazon EU Settlement to please retailers

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Just before Christmas, an Amazon EU Settlement was announced removing the exposure to Amazon from a fine that could have been as high as 10% of global revenues. The results of the Amazon EU settlement will be pleasing to retailers on the marketplace, especially those that don’t use FBA or have complained their offers are always hidden behind a Prime offer from an FBA product.

The EU Commissions concerns and resultant agreement addressed Commission’s competition concerns over Amazon’s use of non-public marketplace seller data and over a possible bias in granting to sellers access to its Buy Box and its Prime programme. The changes will bar Amazon from using marketplace seller data, and ensure equal access to Buy Box and Prime for all sellers regardless of whether they use FBA or not.

Amazon initial commitments

Amazon initially proposed the following commitments to the EU:

Data

  • not to use non-public data relating to, or derived from, the independent sellers’ activities on its marketplace, for its retail business. This applies to both Amazon’s automated tools and employees that could cross-use the data from Amazon Marketplace, for retail decisions;
  • not to use such data for the purposes of selling branded goods as well as its private label products.

Buy Box

  • treat all sellers equally when ranking the offers for the purposes of the selection of the Buy Box winner;
  • display a second competing offer to the Buy Box winner if there is a second offer from a different seller that is sufficiently differentiated from the first one on price and/or delivery. Both offers will display the same descriptive information and provide the same purchasing experience.

Prime

  • set non-discriminatory conditions and criteria for the qualification of marketplace sellers and offers to Prime;
  • allow Prime sellers to freely choose any carrier for their logistics and delivery services and negotiate terms directly with the carrier of their choice;
  • not use any information obtained through Prime about the terms and performance of third-party carriers, for its own logistics services.

Amazon EU Settlement amended commitments

Following negotiation, Amazon have agreed the following amendments to their initial commitments

  • Improve the presentation of the second competing Buy Box offer by making it more prominent and to include a review mechanism in case the presentation is not attracting adequate consumer attention;
  • Increase the transparency and early information flows to sellers and carriers about the commitments and their newly acquired rights, enabling, amongst others, early switching of sellers to independent carriers;
  • Lay out the means for independent carriers to directly contact their Amazon customers, in line with data-protection rules, enabling them to provide equivalent delivery services to those offered by Amazon;
  • Improve carrier data protection from use by Amazon’s competing logistics services, in particular concerning cargo profile information;
  • Increase the powers of the monitoring trustee by introducing further notification obligations;
  • Introduce a centralised complaint mechanism, open to all sellers and carriers in case of suspected non-compliance with the commitments.
  • Increase to seven years, instead of the initially proposed five years, the duration of the commitments relating to Prime and the second competing Buy Box offer.

2 Responses

  1. The question is though will this apply to Amazon UK? It’s an agreement between the EU and Amazon.

  2. So far from what I’ve seen Amazon has continued to treat marketplace rules for UK and EU and the same.

    No mention of Amazon choosing to surpress buybox, for not being cheap enough or to expensive

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