Italy’s antitrust regulator fines Amazon over $1.2bn

Amazon 1 - Italy’s antitrust regulator fines Amazon over $1.2bn

ROME: Italy’s antitrust regulator fined Amazon.com Inc. more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), citing harmful practices in the e-commerce logistics market.

The institution set penalties on units including Amazon Italia Logistica Srl, according to a statement on Thursday.

The US retail giant used its dominant position in the country to promote the use of its own logistics operations to the detriment of competitors, the regulator said.

The Italian watchdog said on Thursday that the third-party sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics service are excluded from “a set of advantages essential for obtaining visibility and better sales prospects”.

Read More: Italy fines Apple, Amazon $230m for secret deal

Those included better access to Amazon’s “most loyal and high-end customers” who use Amazon Prime, the e-commerce giant’s loyalty programme. Moreover, a tough performance measurement system is reserved for sellers who do not use Amazon’s logistics system, which can lead, if failed, to suspension of the seller’s account.

“In doing so, Amazon has harmed competing e-commerce logistics providers by preventing them from presenting themselves to online sellers as service providers of comparable quality to Amazon’s logistics,” the watchdog said, adding that such conduct had “increased the gap between Amazon’s power and that of its competitors”.

The decision follows a 746 million-euro fine against the company by the European Union for breaking data protection rules, while France penalised Apple Inc. 1.1 billion euros in a broader European crackdown against Big Tech.

Amazon has expanded its shipping services in Europe, reportedly with the aim of persuading local businesses to launch their own trucking firms to exclusively transport freight for the company. The retailer also tied access to a set of exclusive benefits to the use of its own logistics, the regulator said.

In its decision, the authority said it had imposed measures on Amazon subject to review by a monitor. The company must grant sales privileges and visibility to all third-party sellers who meet fair and non-discriminatory standards for fulfilment, and must decide and publish such standards, it said.

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