Amazon’s ongoing legal issues in Europe continue. The Federal Cartel Office in Germany has accepted concessions from Amazon regarding the retailer’s terms for third-party sellers, and has closed the “abuse of dominance” procedure begun last fall. According to Cartel Office head Andreas Mundt, Amazon has agreed to improve “the lack of transparency of the terms of business; the unexpected termination and blocking of sellers accounts…; the lack of possibilities for sellers to enforce a contractual obligation on Amazon and clarify matters of dispute; the disadvantage of sellers in customer reviews; the obligation for sellers to transfer the rights to use product information (especially images) to Amazon; the obligation for sellers to bear the costs of obviously unjustified customer returns and various other rules and practices on the marketplace.” Going forward, “more consideration will be given to the interests of the sellers in their internal relationship with Amazon.” The investigation began after complaints that Amazon permanently blocked over a quarter of a million seller accounts on their German site, and temporarily blocked more than 30,000 more. Amazon said most of the blocks were for fraud and others were for “violation of industrial property rights and product counterfeiting.”
The European Commission of the European Union is still investigating, though, “to assess whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager plans to “take a very close look at Amazon’s business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer.”
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