Amazon's use of merchant data under EU microscope

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU regulators are quizzing merchants and others on U.S. online retailer Amazon’s (AMZN.O) use of their data to discover whether there is a need for action, Europe’s antitrust chief said on Wednesday.

A shipment moves on a conveyor belt at an Amazon Fulfillment Centre (BLR7) on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, September 18, 2018. REUTERS/ Abhishek N. Chinnappa

The comments by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager came as the world’s largest online retailer faces calls for more regulatory intervention and even its potential break-up because of its sheer size.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company’s logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Vestager said the issue was about a company hosting merchants on its site and at the same time competing with these same retailers by using their data for its own sales.

“We are gathering information on the issue and we have sent quite a number of questionnaires to market participants in order to understand this issue in full,” Vestager told a news conference.

“These are very early days and we haven’t formally opened a case. We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture.”

Seattle-based Amazon had no immediate comment.

Vestager has the power to fine companies up to 10 percent of their global turnover for breaching EU antitrust rules.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman

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