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Amazon Offers Up Marketplace Rule Change to Solve UK Antitrust Issues

Amazon agreed to the proposal to change the mechanism for processing information about competitors’ sales and introduce the practice of equal interaction with all sellers operating on the virtual platform of the e-commerce giant in the UK.

Amazon Offers Up Marketplace Rule Change to Solve UK Antitrust Issues

The retailer made this decision after an investigation conducted by British antitrust regulators. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Wednesday, July 26, announced that the e-commerce giant has promised to change the approach to the formation of interaction with all sellers on its online platform. This agreement was reached after Amazon reached a similar convention with regulators in the EU last December.

The British antitrust authority launched an investigation into the e-commerce giant in 2022. Then the regulator asked for an answer to the question of how the online retailer used consumer data so that its virtual platform received benefits on illegal grounds. The antimonopoly authority also asked how Buy Box, intended to demonstrate specific proposals, unreasonably formed a space of privileges for the development of the e-commerce giant’s own retail business.

Amazon’s obligations to the CMA mean that third-party sellers on the retailer’s marketplace will be able to compete on terms no different from those typical of the company’s own business. Ann Pope, senior director of enforcement at the CMA, says that for British consumers, as a result of the fulfillment of the e-commerce giant’s promises, a line of more profitable offers for the purchase of goods will be formed.

The regulator also stated that the agreements reached relate to solving competition problems. The CMA will hold consultations before approving the measures discussed in the framework of interaction with Amazon.

As part of the agreement reached in the EU, the e-commerce giant, based on the results of its commitments realizing, not only approved the principle of equal treatment for all sellers in the Buy Box rating but also introduced a mechanism for displaying a second competing offer from another merchant, if there is one. Preliminary conventions between the CMA and the British regulator do not provide for the display of a second column for purchases.

Amazon’s obligations, fixed in the EU, will be valid for seven years for Prime and Buy Box and five years for other aspects of the business.

The European and British agreements are united by the fact that in both cases there is a requirement to appoint an independent proxy who will monitor the fulfillment of obligations.

For the CMA, monitoring the implementation of the agreement is, in a certain sense, a standard practice that has been used in the framework of interaction with other companies. For example, in the case of Google, third-party control is concerned about how the technology giant would comply with the refusal to support tracking cookies and fulfill the obligation to develop and implement an alternative advertising stack. Experts note that it is the quality of monitoring that determines the effectiveness of the implementation of the agreement.

As we have reported earlier, EC Opens Investigation of Amazon’s Planned Acquisition of iRobot.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.