EU probes Amazon on merchant data usage

Jeff Bezos-Amazon

European watchdog said it has started an investigation into Amazon Inc on allegations that the eCommerce giant uses collected data to its advantage.

EU’s competition watchdog said it has been gathering feedback from retailers and manufacturers since September last year on how Amazo operates its merchant system

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Amazon competes with its merchants using the information it gets from them to get from them to its own advantage.

“European consumers are increasingly shopping online. E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behaviour. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules,” she said.

The commission alleges that ‘Amazon continuously collects data about the activity on its platform. Based on the Commission’s preliminary fact-finding, Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information – about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace.’

This probe is not the first time Amazon will be facing a possible hammer from the commission. In 2017 Amazon agreed to pay 250 million euros to Luxembourg because of illegal tax benefits.

Amazon has not yet commented on the matter.

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