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Amazon Cries Foul In Lawsuit Filed By European Union Regulators

Amazon has filed a lawsuit against the European Union, accusing the EU’s competition watchdog of granting Italian antitrust officials leeway, according to Reuters on Wednesday (Jan. 20).

The investigation on behalf of Amazon took issue with the EU for giving the Italian Competition Authority the power to file its own lawsuit. The eCommerce giant maintains that Italy’s lawsuit should be folded into the EU’s case.

Amazon asked the General Court in Luxembourg — the second-highest court in Europe — to annul the EU’s move to allow Italy its own investigation, according to a court filing, per Reuters.

“When the European Commission decides to investigate a matter, European law says that national competition authorities cannot investigate the same topic. This did not occur in this instance, as the Commission’s opening decision attempts to exclude Italy,” Amazon said in a statement.

The decision comes two months after the European Commission launched a probe into how the company determines the winners of its “buy box,” which enables shoppers to select merchandise from particular vendors. The investigation will also dig into how Amazon decides who should get preferential treatment.

The EC charged Amazon in November with using its dominant position to take advantage of the smaller stores on its eCommerce platform.

As part of a July investigation, the Italian Competition Authority searched the local offices of Amazon and Apple in Italy. The U.S. Congress has also looked into accusations that Amazon abuses its position as an online platform.

The EU announced formal antitrust probes into Amazon, questioning its responsibility to third-party vendors versus itself as a rival on the platform. Part of an investigation launched in 2018, the updated charge sheet questions whether Amazon abused its position to use merchants’ collected data against them.

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