Amazon customers can hope for a larger selection and better offers on the online platform.
The background is a competition dispute between the US company and the EU Commission, which has now been settled, as announced by the Brussels authority. So Amazon must change its business practices in the future.
The European Union Commission has accepted concessions from the world’s largest online retailer. Previously, it had identified potential breaches of EU competition law in several areas. “The changes open up new opportunities and greater choice, which will benefit competing independent retailers and carriers, as well as consumers,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Business data from independent vendors
Among other things, the company has been accused of systematically using non-public business data from independent retailers for its retail business. The background is that Amazon not only sells the same goods as a retailer, but also makes its website available as a platform for other retailers. “Amazon can no longer abuse its dual role, and it will need to change several ways of doing business,” said Vestager.
Amazon asserted, for example, that data must be better protected against its use by Amazon, as announced by the European Union Commission. “We are pleased to address the European Commission’s concerns and resolve these issues,” an Amazon spokesperson said. Although the views of the EU Commission differed from those of the EU Commission in a number of cases, we worked constructively with them.
European consumer association Beuc welcomed the development. Beuc CEO Monique Goines said Amazon’s commitments should lead to the company offering more choice, making it easier for consumers to shop for the best deals.
There are penalties for infractions
Amazon has already announced its franchises for the summer. Then the EU Commission got feedback from Amazon’s competitors. After further adjustments by Amazon, the EU Commission has come to the conclusion that its concerns have been allayed, as evidenced by communications from the competition watchdog. “The Commission has therefore decided to make the presented final commitments legally binding on Amazon.”
In July 2019, the commission launched an investigation into possible illegal business practices. They primarily considered the question of whether the group was competing unfairly with other retailers that use its platform. If Amazon breaks promises made, penalties of up to ten percent of the company’s annual gross sales may be imposed.
Other commitments relate to “non-discriminatory” access to the Amazon Prime program, through which subscription customers can also get items from other retailers delivered for free. Major retailers should also be able to choose which shipping service their goods will be delivered to. In addition, in the future there will be space for more than one retailer in a so-called Buy Box with premium items. In the Amazon buy box, offers are clearly displayed – items can be purchased there very easily.
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