Feeds

Amazon: OK, OK. We'll let traders flog tat more cheaply elsewhere

Concession by online bazaar after Office of Fair Trading antitrust investigation

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Amazon has agreed to stop forcing third-party traders to offer their cheapest prices on its online marketplace within the EU, Blighty's Office of Fair Trading has announced.

The online bazaar had been banning traders from selling their products at a cheaper price elsewhere using threats of Amazon account suspension and payment-blocking for the offenders, but now other websites will be able to undercut the tat behemoth.

The regulator started a formal anti-competition investigation of the practice in October last year, after "numerous complaints" from traders, but has said that it may now close the investigation after the ecommerce site agreed to ditch the policy.

"We welcome Amazon’s decision to end its marketplace price parity policy across the European Union," said Cavendish Elithorn, OFT senior director of its Goods and Consumer division, in a canned statement.

"As Amazon operates one of the UK’s biggest e-commerce sites, the pricing on its website can have a wide impact on online prices offered to consumers elsewhere. We are pleased that sellers are now completely free to set their prices as they wish, as this encourages price competition and ensures consumers can get the best possible deals."

The office said that it had worked closely with the German Federal Cartel Office, which was running a similar investigation, but added that it had not reached a decision about whether Amazon had infringed on competition law.

Amazon justified its price parity policy on its website by saying that it "worked hard to ensure that customers do not find a better price on any other platform" and for that reason, it was "very strict" about compliance. Any seller who wasn't obeying the rules could have their account blocked or suspended.

"If you do not maintain Price Parity, Amazon can contact you at any time to warn you," the site used to say. "They can also suspend your account and block your payments at any time; and they won’t hesitate in doing so, irrespective of how successful you are on their platform. Please note your account will be noted as well, with a potential impact across other countries if you sell globally."

Amazon's price-parity policy is believed to remain in place in its markets outside the EU, including the US. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.