Amazon has offered to refrain from using sellers’ data for its own competing retail business and boost the visibility of rival products on its platform, EU regulators said on Thursday, a move aimed at staving off a possible hefty fine. The US online retail giant offered to treat sellers equally when ranking their offers for the “buy box” on its website and which generates the bulk of its sales, confirming a Reuters story. Sellers will also be allowed to choose their own logistics and delivery services company instead of Amazon’s competing logistics services.
The European Commission said rivals and customers had until September 9 to provide feedback to Amazon’s proposal before it decides whether to accept the offer and end its two investigations.
Amazon, which risks a fine up to 10 percent of its global turnover if found guilty of breaching EU rules, said while it disagrees with several of the Commission’s conclusions it has engaged constructively with the EU competition watchdog.
The Commission in 2020 charged Amazon with using its size, power and data to push its own products and gain an unfair advantage over rival merchants that sell on its online platform. As reported a week ago, Germany’s anti-cartel watchdog said it has placed e-commerce giant Amazon under closer surveillance for any possible abuse of its market position.
The Federal Cartel Office said it had determined Amazon to be a company of “paramount significance for competition”, a move that will allow it to act more effectively to “intervene and prohibit potential anticompetitive practices”.
Amazon joins Google parent Alphabet and Meta, the group behind Facebook, in falling under reinforced monitoring made possible by the German Competition Act.
The act, which came into force in January 2021, allows the cartel authority to intervene earlier, particularly against the world’s tech giants.
Amazon was a “key player in the e-commerce sector” and had created a “digital ecosystem” as both seller and marketplace, said Federal Cartel Office chief, Andreas Mundt.