Italy fines Amazon with more than 1,100 million euros for harming competition in electronic commerce | Economy

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A worker packs Amazon products into cardboard boxes.
A worker packs Amazon products into cardboard boxes.MIKE SEGAR (Reuters)

The technology company Amazon has been fined 1,128 million euros for abusing its “absolute dominant position in the Italian market” with a “particularly serious” strategy to harm competitors in the e-commerce logistics service, according to informed this Thursday the Competition and Market Guarantor Authority of the transalpine country. “Amazon occupies an absolute dominant position in the Italian market for intermediation services in the market, which has allowed it to favor its logistics service, called FBA, among active sellers on the Amazon.it platform to the detriment of competing operators in said market and reinforce its dominant position ”, the agency said in a statement. The platform has already responded in a statement that it considers the sanction “unfair.”

The Italian Competition and Market Guarantor Authority has recently redoubled its vigilance over the technology giants and has imposed other weighty sanctions. In fact, Amazon and was fined less than a month ago – along with Apple – with more than 200 million euros for establishing a “restrictive agreement” that prevented other legitimate distributors of products of the Californian brand from operating on the e-commerce platform. , as reported on Tuesday by the Italian Competition and Market Guarantor Authority.

On this occasion, according to the same Antitrust Authority, “companies have linked to the use of the Amazon logistics service access to a set of essential benefits to obtain visibility and better sales prospects on Amazon.it.” The main highlight is “the Prime label, which makes it easier to sell to the most loyal and highly dependent consumers.” Prime “also allows participation in special Amazon events, such as Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday, Prime Day, and increases the probability that the seller’s offer will be selected as a Storefront Offer and displayed in the Buy Box.” The company, which has violated Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, has also “prevented third-party sellers from associating the Prime label with offers not managed” by FBA.

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The Antitrust investigation “has determined this functionality of the Amazon.it platform that is crucial for the success of sellers and for increasing their sales,” while “third-party sellers using FBA are not subject to the strict system of performance measurement to which Amazon subjects non-FBA sellers and whose failure to comply can also lead to the suspension of the seller’s account ”.

“In this way, Amazon has hurt competing e-commerce logistics operators, preventing them from offering themselves to online sellers as providers of quality services comparable to Amazon’s logistics. These behaviors have thus increased the gap between the power of Amazon and that of the competition, even in the delivery of e-commerce orders ”, the note explains. In addition, “competing markets have been hurt by abuse: due to the cost of warehouse duplication, sellers who adopt Amazon logistics are discouraged from offering their products on other online platforms, at least with the same range. of products”.

The agency considered that this abusive strategy was especially serious and, taking into account its duration, the effects already produced and the size of the group, decided to impose the fine of more than 1,128 million euros. In addition, in order to immediately restore competitive conditions in the relevant markets, the Antitrust Authority imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that “will be examined by a fiduciary supervisor.”

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The platform has responded to the sanction in a brief note that has been sent to this newspaper. “We totally disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition and Market Authority (AGCM) and we will appeal this decision. The fine and the proposed measures are unjustified and disproportionate. More than half of all Amazon’s annual sales in Italy come from small and medium-sized businesses, and their success is an essential part of our business model. Small and medium-sized companies have multiple channels to sell their products both online What offline, Amazon is just one of those options. We constantly invest to support the growth of the 18,000 Italian SMEs that sell on Amazon, and we provide multiple tools to sellers, including those who manage their own shipments themselves.

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Amazon must grant all sales privileges and visibility on its platform to all third-party sellers who “know how to comply with fair and non-discriminatory rules to process their orders”, in accordance with the level of service that Amazon intends to offer to Prime consumers and ” After one year of the decision, refrain from negotiating with competing carriers and / or logistics operators, rates and other contractual conditions applied to the logistics of your orders on Amazon.it, outside of FBA ”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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