The world’s biggest online retailer doesn’t have to answer your calls, Europe’s top court ruled on July 10. In fact, Amazon doesn’t even have to provide a phone or fax number.
The ruling could help other eCommerce merchants who also don’t provide a telephone helpline, Reuters reported. The court’s decision could pave the way for cheaper automation, especially among smaller retailers.
The German Federal Union of Consumer Organizations and Associations had previously asserted that the retailer’s German website breached the country’s consumer protection laws.
The federation asserted that Amazon’s automated call-back facility and an online chat service were insufficient in meeting its legal obligation.
The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union disagreed. “An eCommerce platform such as Amazon is not obliged in all cases to make a telephone number available to consumers before the conclusion of a contract,” judges said.
Amazon is obliged to provide consumers with a quick and efficient means of communication, however.
“We were always confident that our call back service is fast, efficient and customer-focused. The ECJ has now confirmed that the possibilities we offer for establishing contact are in line with the spirit and purpose as well as the requirements of the Consumer Rights Directive,” Amazon said.
The judgment is in line with the court adviser’s non-binding opinion issued in February.
With retail sales increasing from $51 billion to $59.7 billion in the first quarter of 2019, growth is slipping overall. Revenues increased 17 percent in North America compared to 46 percent last year, while international growth has fallen from 34 percent to 9 percent.
“Amazon is not too big to fail. In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not 100-plus years,” Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told employees in a statement.
The retail giant is not alone in facing scrutiny. Amazon will join representatives from Apple, Facebook and Google to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee on July 16. The hearing will focus on “dominant platforms and innovation,” CNBC reported.