EU accuses Amazon of misusing data from firms which sell on its site

Amazon is facing huge fines from European regulators after being charged with misusing the data it collects on businesses selling goods via its website.

The internet shopping giant was accused of hoovering up information about third-party firms on its marketplace and using it to compete with them.

And the European Commission has revealed a second probe into the company’s alleged ‘preferential treatment’ of its own products and sellers that use its delivery services.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said Amazon should not use data on third party sellers when it acts as a competitor to them

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said Amazon should not use data on third party sellers when it acts as a competitor to them

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said Amazon should not use data on third party sellers when it acts as a competitor to them

If the Commission’s allegations are upheld, the US firm could be hit with penalties similar to the £7billion fine recently levied on Google.

Amazon said: ‘We disagree with the preliminary assertions of the Commission and will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.’ 

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: ‘Data on the activity of third-party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers.

‘The conditions of competition on the Amazon platform must also be fair. Its rules should not artificially favour Amazon’s own retail offers or advantage the offers of retailers using Amazon’s logistics and delivery services. 

With ecommerce booming, and Amazon being the leading ecommerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers.’

Lawmakers have singled out the unusual situation of the company running the marketplace while also being a seller, suggesting it ‘creates an inherent conflict of interest’.

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