Italian antitrust regulators imposed Amazon on Dec. 9 with a €1.13 billion ($1.28 billion) fine for alleged abuse of market dominance.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said in a statement that Amazon abused its dominant position by promoting its own logistic service — Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) — to active sellers on its Italian platform “to the detriment of competing operators in this market and to strengthen its dominant position.”
In its 250-page decision, AGCM said that Amazon linked the use of the FBA access to a set of exclusive benefits, such as the Prime label, to promote visibility and sales on its platform.
AGCM cited that the Prime label makes it easier to sell to over seven million loyal and high-spending consumers who are members of the Amazon’s loyalty program, and it also allows customers to participate in special sales events.
“Amazon thus prevented third-party sellers from associating the Prime label with offers not managed with FBA,” AGCM said.
“The abusive strategy adopted by Amazon is particularly serious, since it is likely to discourage, if not eliminate, competition in the relevant markets,” AGCM also said.
AGCM said it will impose corrective steps that will be subject to review by a monitoring trustee.
Amazon said in a statement that it “strongly disagrees” with the fine and that it plans to file an appeal.
“The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate,” Amazon said.
Amazon said FBA “is a completely optional service” and that majority of third-party sellers on its platform do not use it.
“When sellers choose FBA, they do so because it is efficient, convenient, and competitive in terms of price,” Amazon added.
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