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UK watchdog launches investigation into Amazon

By Rachel Douglass


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Courtesy of Amazon

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced the launch of an investigation into Amazon’s use of non-public third-party seller data and how it sets criteria for product offers placed in its ‘Buy Box’.

The ‘Buy Box’, which is displayed on Amazon product pages, provides customers with a one-click purchase option for specific sellers.

The investigation will consider whether Amazon is abusing its position in the UK through distorting competition with the use of third-party data, potentially giving it an unfair advantage. It will also decipher whether Amazon favours sellers that use its logistics and delivery services.

Additionally, the CMA said it will look into how the retailer sets criteria for selling under the Prime label, which offers Prime customers certain benefits.

“Thousands of UK businesses use Amazon to sell their products and it is important they are able to operate in a competitive market,” said Sarah Cardell, general counsel at the CMA, in a release.

Cardell continued: “Any loss of competition is a loss to consumers and could lead to them paying more for products, being offered lower quality items or having less choice.”

The new investigation follows two ongoing European Commission probes into the company, each pursuing similar concerns. The CMA said it will seek to liaise with the European Commission as its own UK-focused investigation progresses.

It further adds to an open investigation by the CMA into Amazon and Google, which claims the duo have not taken enough action in combating fake reviews on their sites.

The CMA stated it has not yet come to a conclusion on any ongoing investigation in relation to Amazon.