Italy’s antitrust regulator on Thursday fined Amazon €1.13 billion ($1.28 billion) for allegedly abusing its market dominance in the country, a move that follows a series of other competition issues faced by the e-commerce giant in Europe.
- In a statement, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) said Amazon had harmed competitors in the e-commerce logistics business by favoring the use of its own “Fulfilment by Amazon” (FBA) shipping service.
- The regulator alleges that sellers on Amazon who used the FBA service can obtain better visibility and sales prospects on the website compared to sellers who use third party delivery platforms.
- Sellers who choose not to use FBA are not allowed to be associated with Amazon’s Prime subscription service, a move that reduces their visibility to the platform's most loyal and highest spending customers, the regulator adds.
- The agency also notes that sellers using FBA do not face the same stringent performance requirements that Amazon places on other third-party sellers, where failure can lead to account suspensions.
- The regulator has ordered Amazon to undertake several corrective measureswhich will be scrutinized by a monitoring trustee.
- An Amazon spokesperson told Forbes that it “strongly disagrees” with the regulator’s decision and will appeal as the proposed fines and remedies are “unjustified and disproportionate.”
Thursday’s antitrust action in Italy is the latest in a line of regulatory action the American tech and e-commerce giant has faced this year. Last month, the AGCM fined both Amazon and Apple €200 million ($226 million) for an agreement that restricted the sale of products made by Apple and its subsidiary Beats to a selected group of sellers on the e-commerce platform. In June, Amazon disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had been hit with a €746 million ($844 million) fine by Luxembourg's privacy watchdog for violating the European Union’s stringent data protection laws. Last year, Amazon was also charged with violating EU antitrust law and accused of using data it collects from third-party sellers on its e-commerce platform to compete against them. Regulators around the world have increasingly begun to focus on Amazon’s dual rule as both a seller and a marketplace.