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Amazon offers to change Marketplace rules

2 August 2023

Amazon responds to fairness concerns for UK Marketplace. Proposed commitments aim to ensure 'Buy Box' equity, curb unfair data use, and enhance third-party seller treatment. A CMA consultation is underway.

Amazon, in response to competition concerns raised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has submitted proposed commitments to change its treatment of third-party sellers using its Marketplace platform in the UK.

The CMA believes that accepting these commitments will ensure that third-party sellers’ product offers have a fair chance of being prominently displayed in the ‘Buy Box’ when competing against Amazon’s own offers. The commitments also aim to prevent Amazon from unfairly leveraging data obtained from third-party sellers for a competitive advantage.

CIMA Investigation

The CMA launched an investigation in July 2022 into concerns that Amazon was abusing its position as the UK’s leading online retail platform by giving an unfair advantage to its own retail business over competing sellers that use Amazon Marketplace, or to sellers that use Amazon’s own warehousing and delivery services, rather than rival organisation businesses.

The CMA’s preliminary view is that the offer from Amazon addresses its competition concerns, and the CMA is now consulting on the commitments put forward before deciding whether to accept them.

Proposed Commitments

The commitments offered propose to:

  • Ensure Amazon does not use rival sellers’ Marketplace data to gain an unfair advantage over other sellers. This follows concerns that Amazon’s access to commercially sensitive data relating to third-party sellers helped its retail business to decide which products to sell, manage stock levels for those products, set prices and make other important commercial decisions.
  • Guarantee all product offers are treated equally when Amazon decides which will be featured in the ‘Buy Box’. This relates to concerns that products being offered by third-party sellers were less likely to appear in the Buy Box than similar offers from either Amazon’s own retail business or third-party sellers that use Amazon’s delivery services.
  • Allow third-party businesses using Marketplace to negotiate their own rates directly with independent providers of Prime delivery services so that customers can benefit from lower delivery costs where better rates are negotiated.
  • Require Amazon to appoint an independent trustee who will monitor the company’s compliance with these commitments. The CMA will have a direct say in this appointment, ensuring they have the necessary skills and expertise for the job.
Source: Other Wed, 02 Aug 2023 00:00:00 +0100

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