Amazon has committed not to use non-public data relating to the independent sellers' activities on its marketplace and for its retail business


EC accepts Amazon’s commitments over use of marketplace seller data. (Credit: Xabier Cid/Wikimedia Commons)

The European Commission (EC) has announced that it has reached an agreement with Amazon to end two antitrust probes over the latter’s use of non-public marketplace seller data and a possible bias in sellers’ access to its Buy Box and Prime programme.

In 2019, the Commission launched an antitrust probe to determine if Amazon’s use of private data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace violates the EU competition rules.

In late 2020, the regulator announced a second probe to see if there was any bias shown by Amazon in selecting the Buy Box winner and enabling retailers to offer products under its Prime programme.

In its preliminary investigation, the EC concluded that Amazon misused its market dominance in France, Germany, and Spain to provide online marketplace services to third-party sellers.

Besides, the regulator found that Amazon’s guidelines for the Buy Box and Prime favoured its own retail business and marketplace sellers who use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services.

As part of the settlement, Amazon has committed not to use non-public data relating to the independent sellers’ activities on its marketplace and for its retail business.

The tech major has also agreed to treat all sellers equally while ranking the offers for choosing the Buy Box winner and displaying a second competing offer if there is a second offer from a different seller.

Furthermore, Amazon agreed not to use any data gained through Prime about third-party carriers’ terms and performance for its own logistics services and will create non-discriminatory standards to qualify marketplace sellers and offers to Prime.

EC Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Today’s decision sets new rules for how Amazon operates its business in Europe. Amazon can no longer abuse its dual role and will have to change several business practices.

“They cover the use of data, the selection of sellers in the Buy Box and the conditions of access to the Amazon Prime Programme. Competing independent retailers and carriers as well as consumers will benefit from these changes opening up new opportunities and choice.”