In response to concerns raised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Amazon has offered commitments not to use Marketplace seller data to its own advantage.
The commitments aim to prevent Amazon from giving itself an unfair competitive advantage as well as ensure third-party sellers’ products have a fair chance of being prominently displayed to customers in the Buy box on a product page when they are competing against Amazon’s own product offers.
Amazon’s proposal also includes allowing third-party businesses using Marketplace to negotiate their own rates directly with independent providers of Prime delivery services so that customers can benefit from lower delivery costs where better rates are negotiated.
The CMA’s concerns that Amazon was abusing its power were investigated in July last year. The investigation looked at how Amazon collects and uses third-party seller data, how Amazon sets criteria for allocation of suppliers to be the preferred/first choice in the Buy box and how Amazon sets the eligibility criteria for selling under the Prime label.
The CMA is now consulting on the commitments put forward before deciding whether to accept them.
If approved, an independent trustee will be appointed who will monitor the company’s compliance with these commitments. The CMA will have a direct say in this appointment, ensuring they have the necessary skills and expertise for the job.
Ann Pope, senior director for Enforcement at the CMA, said: “Amazon’s commitments to the CMA will help ensure that third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace can compete on a level-playing field against Amazon’s own retail business and, ultimately, mean that customers in the UK get a better deal. The CMA took this action after it heard concerns that Amazon was using its strength in the market to gain an advantage over thousands of businesses which use Amazon Marketplace to reach customers.”