The European Union is formally charging Amazon with destroying retail competition and using its power to gain an unfair advantage over small retailers that choose to sell on its platform.
The charges are being levied by the European Commission, an executive branch of the European Union, under Margrethe Vestager, who is known for being one of the toughest antitrust enforcers in the world. Reuters reported the regulator assessed Amazon’s data collection policies and how it uses its seller data to better promote its own products.
“The use of these data allows Amazon to focus on the sale of the best-selling products and it marginalises third-party sellers and caps their ability to grow,” European Competition Commissioner Vestager said in a news conference, adding that it is the European Commission’s role to ensure that platforms such as Amazon that act as both intermediaries and seller on their own marketplace did not distort competition.
The move comes at a time when Amazon is playing an ever-important role in facilitating sales in the continent as more consumers embrace eCommerce over shopping at brick and mortar stores during lockdowns.
The eCommerce giant refuted the allegations saying that it accounts for less than one percent of sales in the global retail landscape and that there are larger retailers in each of the markets the company operated in.
Amazon is facing similar challenges in the U.S. In July this year, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos was grilled on Capitol Hill over the company’s monopoly in the U.S. market and how it uses its seller data to gain an unfair advantage.