VIENNA, July 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On a great day for fairness in the Austrian retail sector, the Austrian Retail Association has prevailed against Amazon. After the complaint of the Austria Retail Association at the Federal Competition Authority (BWB) several months ago, now the most valuable company in the world has turned to the complaint and has changed 8 terms and conditions in favor of the (domestic) retailers on the Amazon marketplace. These changes come into force on the 16th of August 2019.
A big step for FairCommerce
The decision is an important step forward in improving the dealings with domestic retailers in the leading online marketplace. By voluntarily amending its terms and conditions, Amazon avoided lengthy litigation in front of the cartel court, as the evidence provided by the Austrian Retail Association was overwhelming.
"Today is a good day, and this success is trend setting. It shows that the digital world is not free of law and that even digital giants must abide the law, which benefits not only domestic retail, but our entire economy. Sudden or unfounded suspensions will no longer be possible in the future," said Rainer Will, CEO of the Austrian retail association and main complainant against Amazon.
"This has brought us a decisive step closer to our goal of ensuring a fair marketplace for all retailers and consumers," said Will.
The complaint of the Austria retail association has led to these 8 changes in Amazons terms and conditions:
- No sudden/ immediate terminations or suspensions of seller accounts (even without justifications). An ordinary termination takes place with a notice period of 30 days.
- Granting of free, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use materials provided by the Seller: The right and license has been limited to the duration of the seller's original and derivative intellectual property rights.
- Indemnification/ Compensation of Amazon by dealers, only in case of actual violation of the law.
- Disclaimer: Disclaimer has been removed from the Agreement.
- Modification of the Agreement: Amazon will provide at least 15 days' advance notice for changes to the Agreement.
- Other jurisdictions possible, not only in Luxembourg City.
- Compensation in accordance with the FBA Guidelines for the applicable Amazon Site: Disclaimer relating to the FBA Guidelines for the applicable Amazon Site has been removed.
- Seller's time limit to disagree with Amazon's findings on customer refund: Amazon will promptly notify Sellers when they are responsible for a customer refund. Sellers may appeal if they disagree with Amazon's finding within thirty days after notification.
BWB investigation confirms massive dependency by the Austrian marketplace-merchants towards Amazon
The survey carried out by the BWB, in which around 400 of the top selling Austrian marketplace merchants on the Amazon marketplace were surveyed, clearly showed, that the domestic marketplace dealer see hardly any relevant alternatives to the Amazon marketplace in order to reach their customers online.
A large part of the surveyed third-party merchants that sell through Amazon sell almost exclusively on Amazon. Those marketplace merchants who claim to have alternatives, generate the vast majority of their sales over amazon.com.
"At the moment, domestic SME retailers are exporting products worth around 300€ million through the Amazon marketplace, and we are confident, that the export sales will increase considerably as a result of the fairer conditions being achieved," explained Rainer Will.
The Austrian Retail Association also welcomes the BWB's recommendation towards Amazon to include at least one contact person in its terms and conditions, to whom the local merchants can directly get in touch.
EU Competition Commissioner Vestager, opens formal competition against Amazon
The European Commission has been examining since 2018, whether Amazon is penalizing merchants on its platform. EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager has announced today to open a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Amazon's use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.
"We will also continue to work with all our strength for fair commerce, to secure values and jobs in Austria and to seize the opportunities in digitalization," Rainer Will added.
Austrian Retail Association / Handelsverband
Alser Straße 45, 1080 Vienna, Austria
+43 (1) 406 22 36 77
SOURCE Austrian Retail Association