August 10, 2022

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Amazon faces UK investigation over suspected anti-competitive practices

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s antitrust watchdog has investigated Amazon.com over concerns that the e-commerce retailer is harming competition by giving its operations an unfair advantage in its market.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into the matter. The goal is to determine whether Amazon’s practices in the domestic market are anti-competitive and cause bad business for customers.

“We are right to carefully examine whether Amazon is using third-party data to give an unfair boost to its own retail business and to favor retailers that use its logistics and delivery services — both of which could weaken competition,” he said. The CMA’s general counsel Sarah Cordell said in a statement.

An Amazon spokesperson said the company would work closely with the CMA during the investigation, adding that merchants’ marketplace sales continue to grow faster than Amazon’s own sales.

A marketplace is a platform used by retailers to sell products to third-party merchants.

A similar investigation is underway at the European Commission (EC), which does not include the UK because of Brexit, the CMA said. The organization also said that it is trying to establish contact with the Election Commission.

The British regulator said its investigation will focus on three key areas, including how the company collects and uses data from retailers and how it defines eligibility criteria for sales under the Prime brand.

Separately, Germany’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday subjected the e-commerce giant to tougher supervisory rules, saying Amazon’s position was too important for competition in all markets.

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(Yadarisa Shabong; Additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar)