A UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has launched an investigation into Amazon’s listings practices after concerns were raised about the company giving an unfair advantage to some sellers on its marketplace.
This follows a similar probe conducted by the European Union in May, where Amazon was accused of giving preferential listing spots to some businesses.
According to the CMA, Amazon’s practices could mean Amazon customers get a worse deal and businesses are not given the chance for fair competition on the platform.
Amazon says it hosts its marketplace and independent companies can list their products on it, alongside Amazon’s own products. The company says it tries to help small businesses succeed on the platform and has initiatives in place to do this.
However, the investigation will look at which products are given the best listing spots, as the CMA believes that Amazon might be giving preference to its own retail business, which means third-party sellers are at a disadvantage.
In addition to this, it will investigate Amazon’s services to independent businesses, which, in exchange for a fee, include storage, packaging, and delivery – the CMA says that Amazon may be giving an unfair advantage to sellers that buy these services.
After the investigation, the CMA will decide if Amazon is breaking competition rules. If it is, it may face a financial penalty or be forced to change its listing practices.
The CMA says: “Millions of people across the UK rely on Amazon’s services for fast delivery of all types of products at the click of a button.
This is an important area so it’s right that we carefully investigate whether Amazon is using third-party data to give an unfair boost to its own retail business and whether it favors sellers who use its logistics and delivery services – both of which could weaken competition.
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.”