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German watchdog launches Amazon investigation: report

Stock MarketsAug 17, 2020 02:16AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Amazon logistics center in Lauwin-Planque

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's anti-trust authority has launched an investigation into Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s relationship with third-party traders selling on its site, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"We are currently investigating whether and how Amazon influences how traders set prices on the market-place," Andreas Mundt, President of the Federal Cartel Office, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

Germany is Amazon's second-biggest market after the United States.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many stores were closed and shoppers flocked online, Mundt said there had been complaints that Amazon had blocked some traders because of allegedly overly high prices.

"Amazon must not be a controller of prices," he said, adding that Amazon had responded to his office's requests for information and those statements were being evaluated.

The cartel office was not immediately available to comment.

An Amazon spokeswoman said the company's policies were designed to make sure its partners set competitive prices.

"Amazon selling partners set their own product prices in our store," the spokeswoman said. "Our systems are designed to take action against price gouging," she said, adding that those who had concerns should contact its support team for its merchants.

Up until 2013, Amazon had prevented traders from offering their products via other online sites at a lower price than on its market place, a policy Germany's anti-trust watchdog forced it to abandon.

Last year, Amazon reached a deal with the German authority to overhaul its terms of service for third-party merchants, prompting the office to drop a previous seven-month investigation.

German watchdog launches Amazon investigation: report
 

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Comments (2)
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren Aug 16, 2020 8:04PM ET
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I want to investigate why Amazon keeps stealing my money!!! They did it again Friday. A 2.00 Prime charge to my debit card, followed by three charges for 149.95, 34.98 and 1.99. How many people do they steal cash from that don't pay attention. I had to cancel my card and will lose work time to go to the bank and sort it out. Google is just as bad!! Data Bandits!!!
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren Aug 16, 2020 8:04PM ET
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Freakin' Thieves!!
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:46PM ET
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I am on Amazon side this case. Some sellers jacked up the price > 10x during this pandemic. U can argue it is supply n demand but c’on where is human decency? U get rich while others r pannicking/scared is not right.
Kevin Ke
Kevin Ke Aug 16, 2020 1:46PM ET
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And various governments took action on those cases, so the investigation should fall flat, even more, for amazon higher the prices higher there part of the deal... It's a misuse of government funds to pursuit this
 
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