eCommerce

Italy Competition Authority Launches Amazon Inquiry

Italy Launches Amazon Third-Party Inquiry

Amazon is facing an inquiry by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) over allegations that the company abused its position in the country’s eCommerce and logistic services markets.

According to the ICA, the preliminary inquiry will look at Amazon Group, Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU, Amazon Italia Services and Amazon Italia Logistica. The Italian watchdog said in a press release that it is looking into allegations that Amazon only granted enhanced visibility on the website to third-party vendors using its logistics service. The ICA contends that through that practice, Amazon could discriminate on the basis of whether or not the vendor uses its logistics services.

"Through these behaviors, Amazon would be able to unduly exploit its dominant position in the market of intermediation services on platforms for electronic commerce in order to significantly restrict competition in the market for warehouse management services and shipping orders for operators eCommerce (logistics services market), as well as potentially in the marketplace brokerage services market, to the detriment of final consumers," the ICA wrote in the press release. The watchdog also announced that officials carried out inspections in the offices of some of the companies involved in the inquiry.

As Amazon enters more markets and offers new products and services, the company has been the subject of increased scrutiny by regulators around the world in recent months. Amazon is currently waiting to learn the results of an investigation by the European Union into its data practices. Earlier this month, EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said the European Commission is nearing a decision based on data it has gathered.

This isn't the first time Amazon has run into trouble with Italian authorities. In the summer, it was hit with a fine from AGCOM, the Italy communications regulator, for providing postal services without getting approval from the government.

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