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Amazon alters business practices to avoid possible $47 billion European fine

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Amazon has evaded a $47 billion (£39 billion) fine after agreeing a new deal with European Union regulators to settle two long-standing competition inquiries.

The online giant will make considerable changes to its business practices, which have long been criticised for having a biased towards its own products rather than other third-party sellers.

The deal will stay in place for five to seven years.

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As part of the agreement Amazon must treat marketplace sellers fairly and use “non-discriminatory conditions” when products are shown on its “buy box” section of the website.

The 'buy box' section creates more than 90 percent of views on the marketplace and greatly increases the products sales.

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A second buy box will be launched showing a rival product if its price and delivery options vary significantly from the Amazon product previously displayed.

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The amendments to its product listing will address the EU concerns that the box favours Amazon’s own retail products.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe,”.

The terms include allowing third party sellers free choice in which delivery providers they use. Not limiting them to Amazon's pre-approved providers as was the case before.

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“Under the supervision of the Commission, an independent trustee will be in charge of monitoring the implementation and compliance with the commitments.”

If found to be in breach of the terms of the agreement Amazon could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual turnover.

Recently Currys chief executive Alex Baldock had criticised the online giant, claiming it was getting a “free ride” from UK retailers by using the country’s infrastructure while avoiding UK taxes.

Source: Retail Gazette

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