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An Amazon Logistic Center in Rheinberg, Germany
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Meissner

Amazon probed for 'abuse' by German antitrust agency

November 29, 2018

After logging "numerous" complaints from sellers on Amazon's marketplace, Germany's competition watchdog is now taking aim at the e-commerce giant. It's the latest blow to Amazon, which already faces a similar EU probe.

https://p.dw.com/p/39Agr

Germany's competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, launched an investigation on Thursday into alleged "abuse" by e-commerce giant Amazon.

Citing "numerous complaints" from third-party sellers on Amazon's German website, amazon.de, the Bundeskartellamt said it would be looking into whether the company was exploiting its market dominance to obstruct competition.

"Its double role as the largest retailer and largest marketplace has the potential to hinder other sellers on its platform," the authority's president, Andreas Mundt, said in a statement.

The list of complaints against the US giant is long — with the German watchdog saying it would look into complaints of delayed or withheld payments and blocked accounts. The probe will also look into the site's product rating system as well as the company's shipping conditions.

Amazon under scrutiny in Europe

Amazon's headquarters in Germany, which is in Munich, said that it is prepared to "cooperate fully with the Bundeskartellamt and to continue to work to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow."

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The company is under fire by regulators in Europe, with the European Commission launching a similar probe into Amazon in September.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) welcomed the investigation into Amazon.

"The large internet platforms not only shape our everyday lives, they have also gained significant market power," Barley told the German business daily Handelsblatt.

"They must not abuse this dominant position against small traders ... And if necessary, the appropriate measures must be taken."

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rs/rc   (AFP, dpa)

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