Amazon agreed to settle two European Union antitrust cases that alleged mistreatment of its third-party retailers, the European Commission said Tuesday. However, the e-commerce giant won't pay a fine. Instead, for the next seven years it'll follow EU antitrust rules by changing business practices that regulators say disproportionately harm third-party sellers on the platform.
"Today's decision sets new rules for how Amazon operates its business in Europe. Amazon can no longer abuse its dual role and will have to change several business practices," Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president in charge of competition policy, said in a statement.
The Commission, which is the EU's executive branch, found in 2020 that Amazon "distorted fair competition" on its platform by using third-party sellers' nonpublic data to compete against them, the statement said. The e-commerce platform's criteria for its buy box and Prime program also "unduly favors" its own retailers or retailers that utilize its logistics and delivery services, the Commission found.
Amazon agreed to provide third-party retailers with an equal opportunity for being selected as a default option for the platform's buy box. It will also stop using nonpublic data from the independent sellers on its marketplace and set nondiscriminatory practices for retailers' products to qualify for Amazon Prime.
Amazon is required to follow the Commission's final guidance for seven years.
"We are pleased that we have addressed the European Commission's concerns and resolved these matters," a company spokesperson told CNET via email. "While we continue to disagree with several of the preliminary conclusions the European Commission made, we have engaged constructively to ensure that we can continue to serve customers across Europe and support the 225,000 European small and medium sized businesses selling through our stores."