The European Union's antitrust watchdog leveled new charges against Amazon on Tuesday over the company’s treatment of third-party sellers.
The European Commission accused the online retail giant of relying on non-public business data of independent sellers — such number of orders shipped and seller’s past performance — to benefit its own business.
Amazon’s “dual role” as a platform that allows independent sellers to sell products and as a retailer itself is at the root of the issue, the commission said.
It also opened a second antitrust investigation into preferential treatment of Amazon’s retail offers and those of marketplace sellers that use the site’s logistics and delivery services.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times first reported in June that the European Commission would bring charges against the company, though it was unclear when the charges would be leveled. The commission first began investigating Amazon in July 2019.
Margrethe Vestager, the commission's executive vice president in charge of competition policy said in a statement on Tuesday that it is important that dual role platforms like Amazon “do not distort competition.”
“With e-commerce booming, and Amazon being the leading e-commerce platform, a fair and undistorted access to consumers online is important for all sellers,” she said.
A spokesperson for Amazon told The Hill that the company disagrees with the commission's charges, and will "continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts."
"No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon," the spokesperson said in a statement. "There are more than 150,000 European businesses selling through our stores that generate tens of billions of Euros in revenues annually and have created hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
— Updated at 9:13 a.m.