2 US states probing Amazon for business practices: Reports

2 US states probing Amazon for business practices: Reports
San Francisco, June 13 (IANS) California and Washington state in the US have launched probes into the anti-trust business practices of Amazon, the media reported.

According to a Wall Street Journal report citing sources, the California inquiry is under way into how Amazon treats sellers in its online marketplace.

The probe allegedly includes the ecommerce giant's practices for selling its own products in competition with third-party sellers.


The report came as Amazon is facing antitrust scrutiny from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as from the European Union.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Washington state is also investigating the business practices of Amazon.

Amazon declined to comment on both the media reports.

After launching a formal anti-trust probe against Amazon a year ago, the European Union's Competition Commission is also ready to bring charges against the e-commerce giant over its treatment of third-party sellers.

The European Commission announced the antitrust investigation to assess whether Amazon's use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.

"European consumers are increasingly shopping online. E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager had said in a statement last year while announcing the probe.

"We need to ensure that large online platforms don't eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behaviour. I have therefore decided to take a very close look at Amazon's business practices and its dual role as marketplace and retailer, to assess its compliance with EU competition rules."

When providing a marketplace for independent sellers, Amazon continuously collects data about the activity on its platform.

Amazon appears to use competitively sensitive information -- about marketplace sellers, their products and transactions on the marketplace, the Commission said based on its preliminary fact-finding.

For antitrust violations, the EU competition commissioner can slap fines up to 10 per cent of a company's annual revenue.



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