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CMA consults on draft competition commitments from Amazon

The UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) has been investigating Amazon Marketplace’s conduct for potential abuse of dominance for over a year.

It provisionally estimates that Amazon Marketplace has a share of the total ‘e-commerce marketplace’ in the UK of at least 50% and that competitors to Amazon can’t offer the same range of services to third party sellers. The CMA therefore suspects that Amazon has what is referred to in competition law as a ‘dominant position’ which it is illegal to ‘abuse’ by excluding, or unfairly disadvantaging, other competitors or exploiting customers.

Amazon has proposed certain draft commitments to address the CMA’s concerns. Sellers operating through Amazon’s marketplace and others now have a chance to comment on the commitments to ensure their views are heard and considered by the CMA.

The CMA’s concerns relate to:

  • the way that non-public third-party data may be used within Amazon’s retail business;
  • how Amazon sets criteria for selecting which product offer is placed within the ‘Buy Box’; and
  • which sellers can list products under Amazon’s ‘Prime label’ on its Marketplace in the UK.

The draft commitments from Amazon seek to address these concerns by changing Amazon’s behaviours and through the appointment of an independent trustee to monitor Amazon’s compliance. The CMA’s preliminary view is that the commitments address its concerns. If they are finalised the CMA’s investigation will be closed with no infringement finding against Amazon.

The consultation remains open until 1 September 2023.

If it would be helpful to discuss any of the issues arising from this update, please contact Noel Beale or your usual Michelmores LLP contact.