Amazon May Face Antitrust Charges from the European Union

Possible Charges Stem From Treatment of Third-Party Sellers

After two years of investigation, the European Commission, a top EU antitrust regulator, is planning to file charges against Amazon (AMZN) in relation to the company’s treatment of third-party sellers. The charges could be filed within the next two weeks.

US groups such as the House Judiciary Committee, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Justice Department have also been investigating Amazon.

Charges Could Result in Fines and Changed Practices

The charges Amazon could be facing are called a Statement of Objections. Because Amazon is both a marketplace for other companies to sell products and a creator of its own products, the European Union is accusing it of using third-party seller data to compete against the sellers, and possibly even using the information to create similar products.

If it is discovered that Amazon has violated the European Union’s antitrust laws, the company could see fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue. The European Union may also force the company to change some of its business practices. However, it may take up to a year for the European Commission to determine whether Amazon violated the law and Amazon will be able to challenge any of the decisions made.

Other Companies Also Being Investigated

Amazon is not the first major tech company to be investigated by The European Union. Last year, Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOGL) were also under scrutiny for alleged anticompetitive conduct.

In fact, Google was fined over $9 billion for anticompetitive behavior in three separate situations. Both Facebook and Google have said they are cooperating with the investigations. In the past, Amazon has disputed accusations of abusing its size and power.

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