A second legal claim has been launched against Amazon accusing the tech giant of not offering customers the best deals.
A £1 billion legal claim has been launched this month against Amazon accusing it of overcharging customers by manipulating how it presents products to customers. Sign up to stay updated.
Consumer advocate, Robert Hammond, who is seeking to represent 49.4 million consumers in this claim, said:
‘I believe we are being misled and are paying over the odds for some products. It’s time for consumers to be made aware of what I can only define as underhanded practice, for it to be stopped and for Amazon customers to be compensated for years of being ripped off.’
Two competing claims against Amazon
It is estimated that more than 80% of Amazon shoppers in the UK bought the product shown in Amazon’s Buy Box. And it is in its Buy Box that Amazon is accused of favouring its own products.
Consumer rights champion, Julie Hunter, filed a similar £900 million lawsuit on behalf of 50 million UK consumers in November 2022, saying:
‘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.’
Competing claims like this can happen as it takes significant time and investment to prepare a claim for filing. The specialist competition court – the Competition Appeal Tribunal – will now need to decide if there is an overlap and then on merit which case, if any, to take forward.
Legal teams behind these claims
Lesley Hannah, a partner at law firm Hausfeld & Co. LLP who is representing Hunter, 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.’
Responding to the launch of the competing claim against Amazon, she said:
‘We are confident that our claim offers a clear and effective route to redress for UK consumers. We are eager to receive the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s directions on the next steps for our case.’
Robert Hammond is represented by Hagens Berman EMEA LLP and Charles Lyndon Limited.
Steve Berman, Managing Partner as Hagens Berman, said:
‘UK consumers deserve transparency from Amazon about how its product search algorithm is shaping their shopping experience and dictating the prices they pay for everyday goods. We believe that Amazon has abused its position in the market to exploit consumers, and we intend to show this tech Goliath that no one is above the law.’
Rodger Burnett, director and founder of Charles Lyndon, said:
‘We hope that as a result of this action Amazon repays UK consumers the amount of overpayments due to them and improves the manner that it operates its e-commerce platform.’
Amazon says the claim is ‘without merit’
In response to Hunter’s filed claim, 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
These claims against Amazon coincide 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 issues. 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.
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 competes on price and/or delivery.
These commitments were tested by the European Commission in 2022 and made Amazon’s Buy Box commitments legally binding for seven years.
Amazon and Apple accused of striking secret deal to increase the cost of Apple products costing UK consumers £500 million. Sign up for updates.
Global chip manufacturer, Qualcomm, is accused of overcharging for its smartphone technology and owing users £480m. Sign up to stay updated.
Two multi-million-pound lawsuits against Amazon allege it does not always offer customers the best deals. Sign up to stay updated.