Amazon makes concessions to avoid EU fine

The e-commerce giant has proposed a series of measures to meet EU expectations. Not sure that’s enough.

Finding Common Ground: This seems to be Amazon’s path. While the platform has been under several European Union investigations since 2019 for non-compliance with competition rules, the latter has proposed a series of measures to reach an agreement – ​​and avoid a fine. It is the European Commission which has published on its website the list of measures that the platform proposes to put in place.

Commitments on the Buy Box and the Prime program

Two proceedings are currently underway against Amazon:

  • a review procedure, since 2019 to determine whether ” Amazon’s use of non-public data from independent retailers selling on its marketplace was contrary to EU competition rules »,
  • since 2020, a Buy Box survey [un bouton qui permet de placer directement des produits dans le panier, qui n’est pas disponible pour tous les vendeurs, ndlr] and Amazon’s Prime program, which would promote ” Amazon’s own retail business to the detriment of other sellers in its marketplace.
Amazon offered a whole series of concessions for the European Union // Source: Canva

To respond to the demands of the European Union, Amazon has proposed measures on three main points.

With regard to the use of marketplace vendor data, Amazon agrees to refrain from using non-public data relating to, or derived from, the activities of independent sellers in its marketplace for its retail business that competes with such sellers. “, indicates the site of the European Commission. Concretely, this would mean that Amazon would undertake not to use this data to its own advantage for the sale of its own products.

As for the Buy Box, Amazon is committed to ” apply equal treatment to all sellers when ranking their offers for the purpose of selecting the winner of the Buy Box », indicates the Commission, and to « display a second offer competing with that of the winner of the Buy Box if there is a second offer sufficiently differentiated “. Everything should make it possible to widen the choice of consumers: for the moment, the Buy Box is not allocated to all sellers.

Will Amazon’s concessions be enough for the European Commission? // Source: Anirudh / Unsplash

Finally, for the Prime program, Amazon proposes to put in place more flexible criteria so that sellers can have the Prime qualification, and to “ allow Prime sellers to freely choose any carrier for their logistics and delivery services and negotiate terms directly with the carrier of their choice —for now, they must first go through Amazon’s services. Finally, the platform offers “ not to use, for its own logistics services, information obtained through Prime on the conditions and performance of third-party carriers “.

But despite its commitments, nothing yet says that the Commission will accept Amazon’s offer. The institution invites all interested parties to send their feedback before September 9, 2022, after which it will make its decision public. The stakes are high: if the two fail to reach an agreement, and the EU believes that Amazon is in breach of its commitments, “ the Commission may impose a fine of up to 10% of its worldwide annual turnover “. Quite a sum.

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