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Amazon charged with antitrust violations in Europe

Amazon charged with antitrust violations in Europe

The European Commission has accused Amazon of abusing non-public data from third-party merchants to boost sales of its own brands in France and Germany. The Commission also opened a second investigation regarding the possible preferential treatment of marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s fulfillment services.

The EU Commission officially says it “takes issue with Amazon systematically relying on non-public business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace, to the benefit of Amazon’s own retail business, which directly competes with those third-party sellers”.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise for Amazon sellers. For years it has been widely known that if you sell your products on Amazon’s marketplaces, Amazon knows which of your items are bestsellers. And there’s nothing stopping them from selling these items themself.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise for Amazon sellers.

‘Dual role platforms should not distort competition’

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission in charge of competition policy, says she wants to make sure that so-called dual role platforms, such as Amazon, don’t distort competition in Europe. “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”, she says.

The Commission also opened a second antitrust investigation because Amazon might favor its own retail offers and offers of marketplace sellers that use Fulfilment by Amazon. The Commission will investigate whether Amazon gives preferential treatment when selecting the winner of the ‘Buy Box’, which is displayed prominently on Amazon’s websites.

Vestager adds: “The conditions of competition on the Amazon platform must also be fair.  Its rules should not artificially favor 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 ecommerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers.”

A fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers.

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