Amazon faces $1 billion lawsuit in UK for favoring its own products

  • Consumer advocate sues for customers
  • Amazon says teamwork is ‘pointless’
  • The case focuses on the “Buy Box” feature in the market

LONDON, Oct. 20 (Reuters) – Inc (AMZN.O) It is facing a lawsuit in Britain for damages of up to 900 million pounds ($1 billion) over allegations that the online market abused its dominant position in favor of its own products, lawyers said.

Lawyers representing her said consumer advocate Julie Hunter is planning to take class action on behalf of British consumers who have made purchases on Amazon since October 2016.

The proposed case – which Amazon said was “baseless” – would be the latest class action against the tech giant to be brought at the London Competition Court of Appeal (CAT).

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Law firm Housefield, which represents Hunter, said Thursday that Amazon violated competition law by using a “secret and self-favored algorithm” to promote its products through the Buy Box feature on its website.

“Far from being a recommendation based on price or quality, Buy Box prefers products sold by Amazon itself, or by retailers who pay Amazon to handle their own logistics,” Hunter said in a statement. They are effectively excluded.”

“This allegation is baseless and we are confident it will be clarified through the legal process,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

The case is expected to be filed with the Committee against Torture by the end of this month and will have to be ratified by the court before moving forward.

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They are offered on an “opt out” basis, which means that any potential claimants will be included in the claim unless they choose to opt out.

The case comes on the heels of Britain’s antitrust watchdog announcing in July that it was investigating Amazon over suspected violations of competition law, including how it selects which products are placed under its Buy Box feature.

Amazon has faced similar investigations elsewhere, having recently made an offer to the European Commission to avoid potentially huge antitrust fines in the European Union.

The platform also declined to describe its product search system to the Australian competition regulator, which has heard complaints from large market platforms favoring in-house tools.

The Committee Against Torture has authorized a 920 million pound ($1.1 billion) compensation claim against Google (GOOGL.O) in july and agreed Another case worth up to 1.7 billion pounds against Apple (AAPL.O) in May.

The court is also due to decide in January whether to give the green light to a claim worth up to £2.2 billion against Meta platforms. (META.O)the owner of Facebook and Instagram, for allegedly anti-competitive behaviour.

Google and Apple deny the charges, according to court filings, and Meta did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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(Reporting by Sam Tobin) Editing by Andrew Heavens

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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