A class action lawsuit has been brought in the UK against Amazon for allegedly abusing its dominant position to promote its own products and hide deals from consumers.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Amazon’s allegedly anti-competitive behaviour since July 2022. The CMA believes that Amazon’s UK marketplace may have breached competition law by using non-public third-party seller data to showcase products in the ‘Buy Box’ and which sellers may list products under the ‘Prime’ label. Products under the Buy Box are displayed more prominently in the storefront and provide customers with easy access and one-click purchase options. Similarly, Prime label products are offered delivery benefits only available to Amazon Prime subscribers. The CMA has not yet confirmed whether there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of competition law.
Class action lawsuits of this type operate as “opt-out”. This means that the lawsuit is brought on behalf of anyone who lives in the UK and has made an Amazon purchase since October 2016. If eligible consumers do not wish to participate, they must expressly opt-out. It will be interesting to see whether similar suits will be brought in other jurisdictions, such as Australia or the United States.