Germany in Deal With Amazon to Change Terms of Use


Berlin, July 17: German regulators on Wednesday ended a probe into whether e-commerce giant Amazon abused its dominant position after the American online retail group agreed to modify its terms of use. "With our procedure, we have achieved significant improvements worldwide for distributors operating on Amazon platforms," said Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office.

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According to the German competition authorities, Amazon "will announce today" new conditions applicable "to all" its online sales sites including American and Asian, which will come "into effect 30 days later". The changes concern Amazon taking on greater liability vis-a-vis its business partners, compared to previously, when it faced "practically" no liability. Amazon Sells Toilet Covers With Islamic Scriptures, Takes Down After Complaints From Muslim Community.

There will also be a "30-day notice period" in the event of it removing a merchant online. Bringing disputes in Europe before national courts, and not only in Luxembourg, which is currently the case, will now be possible. In return, Germany's anti-cartel office is abandoning the investigation opened last November following "numerous complaints from distributors" about Amazon's practices.

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The main criticism levelled at the American giant was that it functioned as a "gatekeeper" for customers, as its "double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform".

At the time, Amazon pointed out that German SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) sold 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in goods around the world via the platform. The company argued that far from crushing other distributors, it allows SMEs to reach hundreds of millions of customers around the world in its role as a commercial middleman.