Germany: Regs threaten Amazon with ‘torture’ over third-party seller contracts

The head of Germany’s competition watchdog announced plans to take action against global Internet retail giant Amazon if it does not change the way it deals with third-party merchants, say reports.

Amazon undermines competition through its terms made with third-party sellers, according to Germany’s competition watchdog head Andreas Mundt. The regulator is now in talks with the company “to eliminate these impediments to competition,” said Mundt, who added that the regulator would “issue a crystal clear decree” if necessary.

”Luckily, we have instruments of torture, which we will use if necessary,” Mundt was quoted as saying.

The allegations with Amazon’s practices with third-party sellers emerged the same day Amazon announced a new deal that allows those sellers to participate in the holiday deals promotion program. According to a press release offered by Amazon Monday, third-arty sellers will be able to offer holiday deals “that will be featured on the Amazon holiday deal pages.”

In the press release, Amazon Marketplace VP said the company was “excited that for the first time ever” the third-party sellers will have access to holiday promotion pages.

Despite Amazon’s announcement, German regulators are highly critical of agreements made with third-party merchants. Reports say the authorities are most concerned about the retailer’s requirement that those merchants must offer their lowest available price when listing products on Amazon.

Germany represents Amazon’s second-largest market, behind the US.

Full content: Tech Crunch and Amazon.com

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