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BIRA responds cautiously to Amazon and Meta commitments

The two tech giants have recently made commitments to ensure fair competition on their online marketplaces.

BIRA made comment following the investigation launched by the Competition and Markets Authority in July 2022, whose response was released this month.

Amid growing concerns that Amazon was leveraging its dominant position to gain an unfair advantage over third-party sellers, the CMA initiated an investigation into potential anti-competitive practices, including favouring its retail business over competing sellers on the Amazon Marketplace. Additionally, the watchdog flagged the unequal treatment of sellers utilising Amazon’s warehousing and delivery, compared to those employing alternative logistics businesses.

As a result of the investigation, Amazon has committed to providing independent sellers with an equal opportunity to feature products in the ‘Buy Box’ – the primary sales platform on the Amazon Marketplace. Amazon will also no longer be permitted to exploit Marketplace data acquired from third party sellers – which had previously contributed to its unfair advantage.

Meanwhile, Meta, owner of Facebook, has also pledged to adhere to new commitments which prevent the misuse of its advertising customers’ data, fostering a more equitable environment for businesses using the platform for advertising.

Andrew Goodacre, ceo of BIRA remains cautious, however: “We remain unconvinced that this will significantly help the indie retailers who trade on these platforms. These companies still have a huge amount of control over how things are sold and how much it costs the retailers. These changes do not address the negative impact these work practices were having on the small businesses using the platforms.”

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