Amazon India has denied favoring select Amazon merchants and brands after a complaint was issued against the eCommerce company by an Indian lobby group.
The All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), which represents more than 3,500 online sellers, filed an antitrust complaint last week with the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The petition alleges that Amazon has been favoring merchants that it partly owns, such as Cloudtail and Appario, charging them significantly less than Amazon’s advertised rates.
“There should not be any preferential treatment,” AIOVA’s lawyer, Chanakya Basa, said, according to Reuters.
But Amazon denied the claims on Monday (October 8), saying that it treats all sellers on its platform equally.
“Amazon has an equal relationship with all the sellers on our marketplace,” Amazon India spokeswoman Bhumika Shah said in an email, adding that the company is “absolutely committed” to compliance with local laws.
Earlier this year, regulatory filings showed Amazon put $306 million of funding into its Indian arm, Amazon Seller Services, which posted a 41 percent increase in earnings to $485.4 million. It is believed that Amazon India, which reported over 105 percent growth in revenue last year, could now be valued at $16 billion. It is expected to reach $70 billion in GMV and $11 billion in net sales by 2027.
The eCommerce giant has been carefully plotting its growth in India. In April, the company revealed that it was expanding its grocery offerings in India, as the company anticipates that the market will account for over half of its business in the country in the next five years. As a result, the company has opened 15 fulfillment centers in Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai to create a specialized network for it groceries business.
In the meantime, AIOVA has requested that the country's antitrust regulator impose a “severe penalty” for unfair practices, as well as restrict these “preferred sellers” from participating in Amazon India’s annual festival sales, which start this week.
The group filed a similar petition against Walmart-owned Flipkart in May, and has also asked for restrictions to be placed on Flipkart’s festival sale this week.