A legal claim has been launched against Amazon after evidence shows it is not always offering customers the best deals.
A legal claim has been launched against Amazon after evidence shows it is not always offering customers the best deals. If you shopped at Amazon in the past 6 years you are automatically included in this claim. Sign up to stay updated.
Consumer rights champion, Julie Hunter, said:
‘Many consumers believe that Amazon offers good choice and value, but in fact it uses tricks of design to manipulate consumer choice and direct customers towards the featured offer in its Buy Box.’
About the Amazon claim
Amazon is accused of ripping off shoppers by directing them to buy more expensive items – from which it makes more profit – while concealing better deals. More than 50 million of its UK customers have been affected. A £900m legal claim has been launched to seek damages.
Amazon is accused of using a self-favouring algorithm to bias certain goods, which Hunter claims is an abuse against Amazon’s dominant market position and a breach of UK and EU competition law.
Amazon’s ‘Buy Box’
Over 80% of Amazon sales are made by customers using the ‘Add to basket’ or ‘Buy now’ buttons in what is known as the ‘Buy Box’. This is found on the right side of the product page on Amazon.co.uk or the bottom of the screen in the app.
Amazon’s Buy Box promotes specific offers which are said to bias its own products or products sold by sellers using Amazon’s order fulfilment services, despite better deals on the same product being available and less prominently displayed down the page.
Hunter, who is seeking to lead this claim on behalf of tens of millions of UK consumers, said:
‘Far from being a recommendation based on price or quality, the Buy Box favours products sold by Amazon itself, or by retailers who pay Amazon for handling their logistics. Other sellers, however good their offers might be, are effectively shut out – relegated down-page, or hidden several clicks away in an obscure corner of Amazon’s website.’
Legal team behind the claim
Hunter has instructed the law firm Hausfeld & Co. LLP to represent her in this UK Buy Box Claim. She is represented by Lesley Hannah and Aqeel Kadri at Hausfeld & Co LLP.
Lesley Hannah said:
‘Amazon takes advantage of consumers’ well-known tendency to focus on prominently-placed and eye-catching displays, such as the Buy Box. Amazon doesn’t present consumers with a fair range of choices – on the contrary, the design of the Buy Box makes it difficult for consumers to locate and purchase better or cheaper options.’
Hausfeld & Co. LLP have instructed Marie Demetriou KC, Robert O’Donoghue KC and Sarah Love at Brick Court Chambers. The claim was filed at the specialist legal body the Competition Appeal Tribunal in November 2022.
Who is eligible for compensation?
Anyone who lives in the UK and bought products at Amazon since October 2016 is automatically an eligible member of the claim. This means that you do not actively have to opt into the claim to be eligible for compensation.
Amazon customers affected by the claim will not pay costs or fees to participate. The claim is funded by global litigation funder LCM Finance.
Sign up to Consumer Voice to stay updated as the claim progresses. When the time is right, we’ll tell you how to claim.
Amazon says the claim is ‘without merit’
Amazon reportedly responded by saying:
‘This claim is without merit and we’re confident that will become clear through the legal process. Amazon has always focused on supporting the 85,000 businesses that sell their products on our UK store, and more than half of all physical products on our UK store are from independent selling partners. We always work to feature offers that provide customers with low prices and fast delivery.’
Investigations into Amazon
The claim coincides with an ongoing investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority into Amazon’s anti-competitive business practices that might leave customers worse off.
This follows investigations from the European Commission looking at similar competition concerns. The Commission concluded that Amazon abused its dominance in France, Germany and Spain by unfairly favouring its own retail business with its Buy Box rules and criteria.
In response to the European Commission’s Buy Box concerns, Amazon promised to treat all sellers equally when ranking offers, and to display a second competing offer to the Buy Box winner if it positively competes on price and/or delivery.
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