The Canadian federal competition authority is investigating whether Amazon has influenced competition in Canada to the detriment of consumers or companies through its behavior on amazon.ca. Specifically, it concerns the suspicion of abuse of a dominant position. The authority is now calling on sellers and other companies to provide relevant information.
In particular the competition authority is interested (Competition Bureau or Bureau de la concurrence) for
- previous or current Amazon rules for Amazon marketplace sellers who would like to offer their goods cheaper in a different way than on Amazon’s websites, for example on their own websites or other marketplaces;
- the chances of sellers on the Amazon Marketplace who do not pay for advertising there or who do without Amazon’s delivery service (Fulfillment by Amazon);
- Amazon’s efforts or strategies that could influence consumers to buy products directly from Amazon rather than from another seller who is selling on Amazon.
Contact must not be anonymous and must be made by email. The authority promises not to reveal the identity of the sender. She also emphasizes that she has not yet identified any legal violations. In contrast to its US counterpart, the FTC, the Canadian authorities can impose a fine on the first violation, namely up to ten million Canadian dollars (6.4 million euros). For repeat offenders, the threat of punishment increases by half.
US colleagues are also investigating
The US government has been investigating Amazon, Facebook and Google for a year. “Whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and use business practices that have reduced competition, hindered innovation or otherwise harmed consumers,” the antitrust department of the US Department of Justice investigates. In addition to companies, citizens are also invited to report competition problems.