With Amazon's massive clout as an e-commerce giant, there's a big chance that the company tends to take advantage of its market dominance in dealing with smaller retailers that do business on its website. That is why the company is no stranger to antitrust investigations, with the European Union having recently opened an initial probe into how it handles data it collects from the traders that use its service.
Now, Amazon's antitrust woes in the region seem to be escalating as Germany's Federal Cartel Office, which regulates market competition in the country, has launched a formal probe on the company's business practices. The regulator cited many complaints it recently received centered on the business terms Amazon imposes on merchants that use its website to sell their products and services.
In a statement, cartel office President Andreas Mundt said:
“Amazon acts as a kind of ‘gatekeeper’ to customers. The double role as biggest trader and biggest marketplace means there is a potential to impede other traders on the platform."
Key focal points of the investigation include the purported lack of transparency in how Amazon removes certain vendors from the service, payment delays, and shipping conditions. The probe also comes a few days after employees at Amazon's logistic centers based in Germany and Spain held a Black Friday strike, demanding improved working conditions and better compensation. With Germany being Amazon's second largest market, the outcome of the latest probe is expected to have a crucial impact on its market position.