According to attorneys, Amazon is being sued in Britain for up to GBP 900 million in damages (about Rs. 8,400 crore) on claims the online marketplace exploited its dominating position by favouring its items.
Julie Hunter, a champion of consumer rights, intends to file the lawsuit on behalf of all British customers who have made purchases on Amazon since October 2016, according to her legal counsel.
The planned lawsuit would be the most recent large-scale action against a tech firm to be brought at London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal, which Amazon claimed was “without substance” (CAT).
Hunter’s attorney, Hausfeld, said on Thursday that Amazon had broken the rules of competition by utilising the “Buy Box” feature on its website to promote only its items in a “secret and self-favoring algorithm,” feature on its website.
In a statement, Hunter said: “The Buy Box favours items offered by Amazon itself, or by sellers that pay Amazon for handling their logistics, and is far from being a suggestion based on price or quality. No matter how good their bids, other vendors are essentially excluded.
According to a statement from an Amazon spokeswoman, this allegation is without validity, and we’re confident that will become obvious via the legal process.
The lawsuit will need to be certified by the tribunal before it can move further and is anticipated to be filed at the CAT by the end of this month.
Any potential claimants will be included in the claim unless they want to opt-out because it is being filed on an “opt-out” basis.
The investigation into possible competition law violations, including how Amazon chooses which goods appear in the “Buy Box” feature, was revealed by Britain’s antitrust agency in July.
Amazon has faced similar investigations worldwide and recently proposed to the European Commission to avoid potential significant EU antitrust fines.
Additionally, the platform has neglected to provide details on its product-search functionality to an Australian competition watchdog that has received complaints about massive marketplace platforms favoring their products.
The CAT accepted a lawsuit for up to GBP 1.7 billion (almost Rs. 15,900 crores) against Apple in May and estimated GBP 920 million (approximately Rs. 8,600 crores) damages claim against
Google in July.
The tribunal must also determine whether to approve a lawsuit against Meta Platforms in January. This company owns Facebook and Instagram for alleged anti-competitive behavior that may be worth up to GBP 2.2 billion (about Rs. 20,600 crores).
According to court documents, Google and Apple rejected the accusations against them, and Meta did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Reuters.