Antitrust regulators in Italy have slapped Amazon with a fine of €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) for allegedly abusing its market dominance. Officials are looking into the corporation’s practices with the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) alleged that the retailer compelled Italian sellers to use FBA, Amazon’s logistics service. In response, Amazon said it would formally appeal the regulator’s decision (via).
The €1.1 billion fine against Amazon is the highest imposed by a single EU nation. In November, the AGCM fined Amazon and Apple for allegedly conspiring to reduce the supply of Beats and Apple products. The two companies are reportedly appealing this decision as well.
The current ruling by the AGCM addresses the perks Amazon provides to sellers who access the FBA logistics service. Sellers who sign up and pay for the FBA program get the “Prime” label on their goods. Additionally, FBA sellers can enter Amazon’s sales events like Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
The AGCM wants Amazon to provide the same “sales and visibility privileges” to non-FBA sellers
“The investigation has ascertained that these are functions of the Amazon.it platform that are crucial for the success of sellers and for increasing their sales,” the AGCM said in a statement translated from Italian.
“In doing so, Amazon has harmed competing e-commerce logistics operators by preventing them from proposing themselves to online sellers as providers of services of a quality comparable to that of Amazon’s fulfillment. These conducts have thus widened the gap between Amazon’s power and that of the competition also in the e-commerce order delivery business.”
The AGCM said that the fine highlights the meticulous strategy of Amazon in getting to this point. The regulator also said that Amazon must change its business practices in Italy. The AGCM wants Amazon to offer the same benefits to all sellers regardless of their FBA status.
“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) and we will appeal. The proposed fine and remedies are unjustified and disproportionate,” Amazon said in a statement. As it stands, Amazon doesn’t have to adhere to the ruling until the appeal goes through.
Regulators across the EU have kept a close eye on corporations and their business practices. Meanwhile, companies like Meta, Google, and others have also been under the scanner in the past.