Italy fines Amazon $ 1.3 billion, says it harms other sellers

Milan – Italy’s antitrust authority on Thursday fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($ 1.3 billion), accusing the company of exploiting its dominant position against independent sellers on its website in violation of European Union competition rules.

The fine is one of the largest in Europe against the online retail giant, which has spread especially in Italy during a coronavirus lockdown that has barred residents from visiting stores to purchase items considered non-essential.

Europe has sought to subdue big tech companies, including fining Google billions of dollars in three antitrust cases. The push is gaining momentum around the world as regulators and lawmakers grapple with digital giants on charges ranging from stifling competition to failure to prevent harmful content from appearing on their websites. platforms.

Amazon said it “strongly disagrees” with the Italian regulator’s decision and will appeal, calling the fines and proposed remedies “unjustified and disproportionate”. He noted that more than half of annual sales in Italy come from small and medium-sized businesses that have access to other channels to sell their products.

The Italian authority of AGCM said Amazon had demanded that third-party sellers use its own logistics service, called Fulfillment by Amazon, harming its competitors and strengthening its own position.

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The e-commerce giant is also blocking third-party sellers from accessing Amazon’s Prime loyalty program, “making it easier to sell to more than 7 million of the most loyal and spendthrift consumers.”

This means these sellers are also excluded from special events, including Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, and Prime Day deals, reducing the chances of sellers’ items appearing as a “Featured Offer.”

“The survey showed that such benefits are crucial for gaining visibility, for boosting sales and, therefore, for the success of sellers’ offers on,” said the regulator.

The authority ordered Amazon to grant business benefits and visibility on to all third-party sellers capable of meeting the standards of its Prime service, which it must publish.

In the United States, Amazon also faces antitrust pressure from the federal government, states, and lawmakers. Washington, DC, sued the company in May, accusing it of monopolistic behavior. The lawsuit claims that Amazon’s dominance allows it to impose onerous terms on third-party sellers on its platform, pushing up prices for online shoppers around the world.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate The acquisition of Amazon for $ 8.4 billion from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer earlier this year.

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