Feeds

UK competition authority probes Amazon

Move to John Lewis pricing pisses off sellers

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating complaints received about Amazon's introduction of a new pricing scheme for people using its UK site to sell second-hand books and other items.

Amazon.co.uk is pushing sellers to make sure the prices they offer on Amazon are the same as or lower than they offer anywhere else online.

Many sellers offer books or other products on Amazon for a certain price and on their own sites for slightly less - because sales on their own websites are commission-free. The requirement for price parity began yesterday, but will not be actively enforced until 1 May.

A spokesman for the bookseller said:

We are simply asking sellers who choose to sell their products on Amazon Marketplace not to set prices on Amazon that are higher than the prices they sell at elsewhere.  Customers trust that they’ll find consistently low prices on Amazon.co.uk and we think this is an important step to preserve that trust.  This general requirement already exists for many of our seller agreements in Europe (and all seller agreements in the US) and we’re now introducing it for the remaining seller agreements in Europe.

Sellers range from hobbyists to specialist bookshops which use Amazon as their main online presence.

One bookseller who spoke to us on condition of anonymity said: "There's already a climate of fear - Amazon is brutal and known to throw people off the site with no recourse or appeal. Amazon wants to dominate online secondhand book sales and this will help them. I offer books cheaper on my site because i don't have to give Amazon a 15 per cent commission payment."

Some forum posters believe the new policy will only be enforced against big sellers, because checking every item would be too much of a burden on Amazon's systems.

Amazon's explanation of the change is here.

John Lewis pricing (the chain famously claims to be "Never Knowingly Undersold") applies to all non-physical stores including catalogues, mobile applications or other websites like ebay.co.uk.

The OFT will study the complaints received before deciding whether the market needs a little help or if the problem should be referred to another competition authority. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.