Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

Amazon facing 900m lawsuit for pushing customers to pay more

Amazon facing 900m lawsuit for pushing customers to pay more

Amazon facing 900m lawsuit for pushing customers to pay more

A £900m class action claim against Amazon accuses the company of pushing customers towards "offers" that benefit the online retailer, but are not good deals for users.

The complaint, which is to be filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, focuses on the company's "Buy Box" feature, which artificially promotes certain items above the rest in response to user searches.

Julie Hunter, a consumer advocate and the class representative, said: "Many consumers believe that Amazon offers good choice and value, but instead it uses tricks of design to manipulate consumer choice and direct customers towards the featured offer in its Buy Box.

"Far from being a recommendation based on price or quality, the Buy Box favours products sold by Amazon itself, or by retailers who pay Amazon for handling their logistics. Other sellers, however good their offers might be, are effectively shut out - relegated down-page, or hidden several clicks away in an obscure corner of Amazon's website."

The claim argues that this preferential treatment results in Amazon getting higher fees, but hides cheaper offers or better delivery options from customers, in a breach of the company's competition requirements as a "dominant marketplace".

Lesley Hannah, the lawyer who is co-lead on the litigation, said: "Most consumers use the Buy Box when purchasing products on Amazon - estimates range from 82% to 90%. This means that millions of consumers have paid too much and been denied choice. This action seeks fair redress for them.

"Competition laws are there to protect everyone. They ensure that individuals can make genuine and informed choices, and are not simply led into making selections which benefit the companies they interact with. Fairness is at the heart of competition law and consumers are not being treated fairly by Amazon."

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