The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has sought further details on the new antitrust complaint against Amazon India filed by a representative of Aiova, a group of small online sellers. The complaint was admitted by CCI in August. It accuses the local arm of the US-based e-tailer of anti-competitive practices like preferential treatment to select sellers like Cloudtail and Amazon Retail, where it holds equity stakes. This is as per a report by the Times of India.
The competition regulator sought these additional details last month but the matter hasn’t been reported before. This could add to Amazon India’s regulatory woes in India at a time when the government has also asked the Enforcement Directorate and Reserve Bank to investigate allegations of FDI violation by e-commerce firms Amazon India and Flipkart.
The regulator has asked for details primarily on two fronts — how exactly certain large sellers are being given preferential treatment, and the effect of Amazon’s private labels being sold on its marketplace. Over the last two years, online platforms have started entering product segments with their own brands that compete against third-party products.
“Latest data/screenshots with respect to discounts offered by alleged preferred sellers on the Amazon marketplace across product categories (including general merchandise, electronics, grocery/pantry items) to be provided. The screenshots should include organic shopping results page and product detail page clearly highlighting product details and the sellers. However, the search should not be made using the name of a specific preferred seller,” CCI’s note has said.
A source aware of the development said Amazon India executives are yet to be summoned by the regulator to present its case on this matter.
The first complaint was filed on 10th August 2020. It is expected Amazon would be given a hearing before the regulator considers opening an official probe. Meanwhile, CCI is also expecting a verdict from the Karnataka high court later this month over a separate probe against Flipkart and Amazon, which was given an interim stay by the court in early 2020.