Feeds

UK competition authority probes Amazon

Move to John Lewis pricing pisses off sellers

Next gen security for virtualised 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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV
And insists on $5 million insurance per motor against accidents
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?