German antitrust agency opens Amazon investigation

Germany’s antitrust agency said it has begun an investigation of online retailer Amazon over complaints it is abusing its position to the detriment of sellers who use its “marketplace” platform.

The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, said Amazon’s “double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform”.

“Because of the many complaints we have received, we will examine whether Amazon is abusing its market position to the detriment of sellers active on its marketplace,” said agency head Andreas Mundt.

“We will scrutinise its terms of business and practices towards sellers.”

The German investigation will “supplement” an ongoing European Commission investigation into Amazon’s use of data to the possible disadvantage of marketplace sellers, with a focus strictly on terms of business and practices towards sellers on its German Amazon marketplace, the office said.

Amazon said it could not comment on ongoing proceedings.

“However, we will co-operate fully with the Bundeskartellamt and continue working hard to support small and medium-sized businesses and help them grow,” the company said.