Amazon has agreed to settle competition inquiries with the European Union to avoid a potential $47bn (£39bn) fine.

Amazon boxes

Amazon has agreed to make changes in its business practices which to settle EU anti-trust probes, which found the tech giant had an unfair advantage over rival companies, saving it a fine of up to 10% of its global turnover. 

Amazon was found to be using its size, power and access to data in order to sell its own products ahead of rival sellers that use its marketplace. 

The settlement deal, which includes Amazon using “non-discriminatory conditions” for sellers on its marketplace “buy box”, will mean the retailer avoids being charged with breaking EU law and a fine worth up to $47bn. 

The Amazon buy box generates over 90% of views for sellers on Amazon’s marketplace, and the retailer has agreed to establish a second box featuring a rival product if its price and delivery vary significantly from the Amazon product in the buy box. The agreement settles regulators’ concerns that the box favours Amazon products and therefore presents an unfair advantage. 

Other changes include Amazon’s agreement to not use sellers’ data for its own retail business and own-label products and allowing Prime sellers to choose their own delivery and logistics providers, outside of Amazon’s pre-approved choices. 

An Amazon spokesperson said: “While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe.”

Regulators have confirmed that Amazon’s commitments in relation to Prime and the buy box will remain in place for seven years while other changes will stand for five years. 

The spokesperson said: “Under the supervision of the Commission, an independent trustee will be in charge of monitoring the implementation and compliance with the commitments.”

If Amazon were to breach its commitments, it could face a fine in future.

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