The European Commission has concluded that Amazon has violated European rules on competition by using independent seller data for its own benefit.
The European Commission says Amazon is systematically using seller data in the market to unfairly compete with sellers in France and Germany.
The accusations are the result of an investigation announced last year that was looking at how Amazon was using sales data to compete with independent merchants within the platform.
We reached the preliminary conclusion that @amazon illegally has abused its dominant position as a marketplace service provider in DE & FR. @amazon may have used sensitive data big scale to compete against smaller retailers. Now for @amazon to respond. @EU_Competition— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) November 10, 2020
“Using seller data allows Amazon to avoid competition risks and leverage its market dominance to provide services in France and Germany,” the commission said.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, also announced today a second investigation into the company’s e-commerce operations.
The new investigation is looking at it giving preferential treatment to its offerings and the market sellers who use its logistics services.
“Data on third-party seller activity should not be used to the advantage of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers,” said Vestager.
She added: The terms of competition on the Amazon platform should be fair, and its laws should not artificially favor its offerings or take advantage of the offers of retailers who use logistics and delivery services from Amazon.
Earlier this year, federal lawmakers questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about how to deal with outside sellers.
The hearing followed a report from the Wall Street Journal alleging that Amazon was using data from independent sellers on its platform to develop competing products.
In response to the newspaper’s investigation, Amazon said: It uses sales data to provide customers with the best possible experience, but prohibits its employees from using vendor data to determine which products to launch.
There were early indications in August that the US investigation was entering a new phase after reports surfaced that prosecutors in New York and California, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, were planning to investigate the Amazon platform.
Individual European countries have also conducted their own investigations, and last year Amazon agreed – on the same day the European Union announced its investigation – to change terms of service for outside merchants; In response to an investigation from the German organizers.
The company agreed to give the sellers 30 days’ notice and a reason before removing them from its platform.