Amazon could soon be subject to a formal investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concerning its data usage practices.
Sources told the Financial Times that the CMA has been analysing how the e-commerce retailer uses the data it collects on its platform.
The competition regulator is said to be particularly keen to investigate Amazon’s ‘buy box’ feature, which appears on product pages.
The box is designed to help customers choose which vendor to buy through when the same item is being sold by multiple vendors, by featuring the best offers on the product page.
Sources said the CMA is likely to focus its probe on whether Amazon shows favouritism when deciding which sellers appear in the box.
It may also examine whether the retailer is influenced by merchants that use its logistics and delivery services.
The CMA is yet to announce the potential investigation and is said to be working on it.
Bloomberg quoted Amazon as saying: “We continue to work hard to deliver great value and low prices for customers and support the tens of thousands of UK small and medium-sized enterprises that account for more than half of everything we sell in our online store.”
Last year, Amazon was fined by the European Commission (EC) for violating EU antitrust rules by using third-party sellers’ business data for its own benefit.
The EC investigation was carried out after traders registered complaints against the retailer’s practices, which were felt to be unfair.
Last month, Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly fixing online retail prices for third-party sellers through contract provisions and policies on its platform.