A class-action antitrust lawsuit has been filed against amazon. It alleges that Amazon negotiated anti-competitive price agreements in 2015 with five big book publishers. They are, Macmillan, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Penguin Random House. The deal caused e-book prices to inflate by up to 30%. It has been estimated that since 2018, Amazon has controlled nearly 90% of the e-book market meaning they would substantially benefit from the inflated prices.
In 2013, Apple was found guilty of colluding with the same five book publishers to fix e-book prices. It is not the first time Amazon has been accused of ignoring competition law.
In November 2020, the European Commission sent a statement of objections to Amazon regarding antitrust rules. It accused Amazon of using non-public business data of third-party sellers on its platform, to make strategic business decisions to detriment of those independent third-party sellers and assert its dominance. These actions would breach Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which prohibits abusing conduct by companies that have a dominant position.
Competition law is aimed to protect consumers and businesses from anti-competitive behaviour. It safeguards effective competition. All businesses must comply with competition law and there can be significant consequences for those businesses and individuals that do not comply. Large businesses that hold a position of dominance with lots of market power have a responsibility not to allow their conduct to harm genuine competition. Behaviour that is perfectly acceptable when a business has little market power can become problematic when the business grows to hold market power. In July 2018, the European Commission imposed a substantial fine of €4.34 billion on Goggle for abusing its dominant position.
Competition law is just one of many areas of law an e-commerce business should be aware of. Navigating and complying with all the relevant laws associated with a business can be complex and is time consuming. At Lawdit Stay Legal we offer a one stop shop solution to take away the stress of legal compliance. With a free initial consultation there is no need to delay, so book today.