Bol.com said to abuse power in Belgium
Belgian partner sellers on Dutch platform Bol.com have complained about coercive contracts and the abuse of power by the platform. The platform is said to ask for information about suppliers and a large revenue share. A member of the federal parliament has called for a hearing.
Bol.com is the leading online marketplace in the Netherlands and Belgium. As much as 65 percent of its GMV comes from partner sellers on its platform. It currently has 52,000 retailers registered on the platform.
Bol.com asks for large revenue share
According to Belgian sellers, Bol.com wants an increasingly large amount of revenue made by the partner seller. Additionally, the platform asks for more information, like the name and address of the merchant’s supplier. “Intervening in coercive contracts and ensuring a fair and level playing field are necessary”, said Belgian business association Unizo.
‘Ecommerce giants have such market power that there is unfair competition.’
“Large players have been given too much power”, said Danny Van Assche, chief executive at Unizo. “Ecommerce giants like Bol.com, Zalando but also Amazon and Alibaba have built up such market power that there is unfair competition. They make far-reaching demands on entrepreneurs, and we must ask ourselves whether this is all done within the law.”
‘Belgian government should take own steps’
With the installment of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the European Union is already trying to ensure a more level playing field. However, Unizo is calling for the Belgian federal government to take its own steps against the abuse of power by large players.
‘There is a need for a level playing field, in terms of control and correct payment of taxes.’
“The Belgian legislater must also play its role by better monitoring and intervening in the far-reaching contracts imposed by the big online players. In addition to tackling the coercive contracts, there is a need for a level playing field, both in terms of controls and the correct payment of taxes”, Van Assche said. Michael Freilich, a Belgian politician, has called for a hearing, an idea which is supported by Unizo.
Bol.com has responded to the complaints by saying that it sees its collaboration with merchants as a partnership. “We always strive for transparent and clear conditions on which our cooperation with partners takes place. For example, we have set up a special page where the conditions are categorized and our partners can find explanations for each topic in clear language”, said a spokesperson for Bol.com.