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India’s competition watchdog seeks additional information on Amazon’s antitrust case: Report

Amazon package in a flower pot
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

The Competition Commission of India has sought information from sellers body AIOVA on the alleged preferential treatment that Amazon gives to certain large sellers, and the impact that Amazon’s private labels have, the Times of India reported. This follows the All India Online Vendors Association’s (AIOVA) antitrust complaint against Amazon India, filed in August, alleging preferential treatment to some sellers, and predatory pricing. 

In its communication to AIOVA, the antitrust watchdog reportedly asked to submit latest data on the discounts offered by the alleged “preferred sellers” on Amazon across product categories. The Times of India report said that the communication was originally sent to AIOVA in December. 

In its August legal filing, AIOVA had alleged that Amazon India buys goods in bulk from manufacturers and then sells them at a loss to sellers such as Cloudtail, who then offer the same goods on Amazon.in at heavily discounted prices. The group also alleged that Cloudtail pays Amazon a fee of a little over than 6% compared to the 28% that smaller sellers have to pay. 

According to India’s rules on FDI in e-commerce, which were enacted in February 2019, marketplaces, such as Amazon and Flipkart, cannot exercise control or ownership over the inventory of vendors on their platforms. If they exercise any kind of control over the inventory, they’ll be considered as an inventory-based e-commerce platform. The rules also say that if a marketplace has an equity stake in a vendor/seller, or if it controls its inventory, the vendor is not permitted to sell its products on the marketplace.

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