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Landmark £1 Billion Class Action Filed Against Amazon Over Data Misuse

 |  June 6, 2024

A class action lawsuit over data misuse, described as the “biggest ever” of its kind, will be filed on Thursday against Amazon in the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) in London. The £1 billion claim, initiated by the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, represents the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and approximately 35,000 UK retailers who sell on Amazon’s marketplace.

The lawsuit alleges that from October 2015 to the present, Amazon has been illegally misusing data from UK retailers and manipulating its Buy Box to prioritize its own commercial interests. This manipulation is said to have significantly boosted Amazon’s revenues and profits at the expense of independent retailers.

According to the claim, many small UK businesses were unaware that Amazon was allegedly exploiting their data to benefit its retail operations. The case argues that this misconduct constitutes a severe breach of trust and a violation of the Competition Act 1998.

Read more: Judge Denies Amazon’s Bid to Dismiss FTC Lawsuit Over Prime Membership Practices

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had already initiated an investigation in 2022 into Amazon’s practices amid concerns of abuse of its dominant market position in the UK. Last year, the CMA secured commitments from Amazon and Meta to reform certain competitive practices on their platforms to better protect consumers.

The legal team representing the retailers is led by Willkie Farr partners Boris Bronfentrinker, Elaine Whiteford, and Michelle Clark. They are supported by barristers Sarah Ford KC from Brick Court Chambers and Jason Pobjoy from Blackstone Chambers. The team will submit over 1,150 pages of documentation outlining their case against Amazon.

“This landmark case aims to address the significant harm caused to small businesses by Amazon’s alleged anti-competitive practices,” said a spokesperson for BIRA. “It underscores the necessity for robust enforcement of competition laws to ensure a fair marketplace for all retailers.”

Source: City AM