The German Cartel Office has reportedly opened yet another investigation into the practices of Amazon, this time looking into complaints that the giant e-tailer has entered into exclusive agreements with certain suppliers that prevent other retailers from selling certain branded products.
As an example of this behavior, the German anti-trust authority cites a deal between Apple and Amazon under which certain products can only be sold on the Amazon marketplace, by Apple and by the latter’s authorized dealers since the beginning of 2019.
According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany is the second-largest market for Amazon after the U.S., and its marketplace accounted for 65 percent of its revenues between March and May of this year, when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of many physical stores.
Last year, the German Cartel Office dropped an investigation into Amazon after the latter agreed to new service conditions with third-party merchants.
Jochen Schäfer, the attorney for the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (Fesi) and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), says that new action by the Cartel Office on this issue could lead some brands to change their sales structures considerably. He had already commented for us on the “Janus-faced” attitude of Amazon in discussing Amazon’s alleged ban on the sale of certain products by its retail clients and the ways in which it can control their prices.
More recently, Fesi called on the European Commission to force Amazon and other operators of internet platforms to use “preventive and proactive measures” against the sale of counterfeit products as part of its planned Digital Services Act (DSA).