To immediately restore competitive conditions in the relevant markets, the Guarantor has imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that will be subjected to the scrutiny of a monitoring trustee.
The accusation is that it harmed competitors in the e-commerce logistics service. The Italian Antitrust Authority has imposed a fine of over 1 billion euros (1,128,596,156.33) on the companies Amazon Europe Core, Amazon Services Europe, Amazon, Amazon Italia Services and Amazon Italia Logistica for violation of art. . 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (abuse of dominant position). To immediately restore competitive conditions in the relevant markets, the Guarantor has imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that will be subjected to the scrutiny of a monitoring trustee. Amazon – explains the Antitrust – holds a position of absolute dominance in the Italian marketplace brokerage services market, which has allowed it to favor its own logistics service, called Fulfillment by Amazon (so-called “FBA”), from the sellers active on the Amazon.it platform to the detriment of competing operators in this market and to strengthen its dominant position.
The “exclusive” advantages of Prime
According to the Authority, the companies have linked the use of the FBA service to access a set of essential benefits to obtain visibility and better sales prospects on Amazon.it. Among these exclusive benefits, the Prime label stands out, which makes it easier to sell to the most loyal and high-spending consumers who are members of Amazon’s loyalty program of the same name. The Prime label also allows you to participate in the famous special events managed by Amazon, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Prime Day and increases the likelihood that the seller’s offer is selected as a Featured Offer and displayed in the so-called Buy Box. Amazon thus – notes the Antitrust note – prevented third party sellers from associating the Prime label with offers not managed with FBA.
Damage to competing e-commerce logistics operators
The investigation has ascertained that these are functions of the Amazon.it platform that are crucial for the success of sellers and for increasing their sales. Finally, third party sellers using FBA do not have the stringent performance measurement system to which Amazon subjects non-FBA sellers and failure to pass which can also lead to the suspension of the seller’s account. In this way – highlights the Antitrust – Amazon has damaged competing logistics operators for e-commerce, preventing them from offering themselves to online sellers as suppliers of services of a quality comparable to that of Amazon’s logistics. These conducts have thus widened the gap between Amazon’s power and that of the competition also in the e-commerce order delivery business. Furthermore, as a result of the abuse, competing marketplaces have also been damaged: due to the cost of duplicating warehouses, sellers who adopt Amazon logistics are discouraged from offering their products on other online platforms, at least with the same. breadth of range.
Behavioral Measures Enforced on Amazon
The Authority – continues the note – considered this abusive strategy to be particularly serious and, also in consideration of its duration, the effects already produced and the size of the Group, decided to impose the sanction. Furthermore, to immediately restore the competitive conditions in the relevant markets, it has imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that will be subjected to the scrutiny of a monitoring trustee: Amazon will have to grant every privilege of sale and visibility on its platform to all third-party sellers who know how to comply with standards. fair and non-discriminatory fulfillment of their orders; Amazon will have to define and publish these standards and, starting one year from the decision, refrain from negotiating with the carriers and / or competing logistics operators – on behalf of the sellers – rates and other contractual conditions applied for the logistics of their orders on Amazon.it, outside of FBA.
EU: “Good collaboration with Italy on Amazon fine”
The Amazon case “is an example of successful coordination between the European Commission and the Italian Competition Authority, which was ideally placed to conduct a separate investigation into Amazon’s conduct in Italy”. This was reported by the European Commission itself following the 1.12 billion euro fine imposed by the Italian Antitrust on the e-commerce giant, highlighting the “close collaboration” between the two authorities “within the European competition network. (‘Ecn’) to ensure consistency with ongoing investigations “at EU level.