Australian regulator probes Amazon and eBay among online markets

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The Australian antitrust regulator on Thursday began an inquiry into the local units of Amazon.com Inc, eBay Inc and other online markets to ensure fairness in a sector where sales have soared through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which previously slapped the world’s toughest content licencing rules on Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, said it was now looking at retail as part of a wider examination of so-called Big Tech.

The ACCC would take submissions until mid-August with a final report due in March 2022, the regulator said.

The Australian regulator said it would examine the relationships between large online markets and third-party sellers and shoppers, including competition impacts and handling of data, complaints and reviews.

Amazon has not reached the market dominance in Australia since launching in 2017 that it experiences elsewhere, but still doubled sales in calendar 2020, the ACCC said.

Overall, Australian online purchases jumped 57% in 2020 for a record $50.5 billion spend amid a series of coronavirus lockdowns, it added.

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