Amazon is said to have violated British competition law and thus cost consumers. The case was brought by a group of lawyers and is led by Julie Hunter, a consumer rights activist.
Hunter argues that the products sold on Amazon.co.uk and through the Amazon app disguise deals that offer better value. The activists are demanding compensation of 900 million pounds, equivalent to about one billion euros.
Central to the case is the ‘buy box’ on Amazon, in which offers are presented. 80% of Amazon purchases would be through the buy box. Hunter states that Amazon excludes independent sellers from the buy box, even if they offer the same product cheaper or with better conditions. This violates both UK and European competition law, Hunter said.
In the indictment, Hunter accuses Amazon of using design tricks to manipulate consumer choice and move customers towards the buy box. As a result, according to Hunter, many customers wrongly assume that the products presented in the buy box offer the best deal.
An Amazon spokesperson called the claim to the BBC unfounded. The American e-commerce company says it has confidence in the outcome of the legal process.