Amazon has proposed several changes to the way it treats third-party sellers on its Marketplace platform to address concerns raised by the UK’s competition watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a probe last year into whether the online giant had been giving its own brands and those that used its logistics services an unfair advantage.
The CMA shared in an update on Wednesday that Amazon has proposed several changes that include not using Marketplace seller data to give itself a competitive advantage and that it would treat all sellers’ offers equally when selecting which products to feature in the ‘Buy Box’.
The online giant has also offered to allow third-party sellers to negotiate their own rates directly with independent providers of Prime delivery services to allow customers to benefit from potentially lower delivery fees.
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Amazon added it would appoint an independent trustee, with input from the CMA, to monitor its compliance with the commitments.
The watchdog is now consulting on Amazon’s proposed changes and if satisfied, it could avoid a lengthy investigation.
CMA senior director of enforcement Ann Pope said: “Amazon’s commitments to the CMA will help ensure that third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace can compete on a level-playing field against Amazon’s own retail business and, ultimately, mean that customers in the UK get a better deal.
“The CMA took this action after it heard concerns that Amazon was using its strength in the market to gain an advantage over thousands of businesses which use Amazon Marketplace to reach customers.”
The online giant avoided a £39bn fine back in December after it agreed to make substantial changes to its business practices as part of settlement with European Union regulators over competition concerns.
As part of the deal, which will remain in place for five to seven years, Amazon committed to treating marketplace sellers equally and use “non-discriminatory conditions” when products are shown on it’s “buy box” section of the website.