Retailers in the European Union can now set higher prices on Amazon than they do elsewhere online. According to the UK's Office of Fair Trading, Amazon is doing away with a rule that barred all companies offering goods through its Marketplace service from advertising lower prices on other websites. The changes are said to go into effect today and come following a nearly yearlong investigation into whether the practice was anti-competitive, though no decision was ultimately reached. Germany's Federal Cartel Office was investigating the policy as well, reports the BBC. It plans to keep the investigation open until it can confirm that Amazon follows through with the changes, but the Office of Fair Trading says that it's inclined to just close its inquiries.
"Pricing on [Amazon's] website can have a wide impact."
"As Amazon operates one of the UK’s biggest e-commerce sites, the pricing on its website can have a wide impact on online prices offered to consumers elsewhere," Cavendish Elithorn, a senior director for the Office of Fair Trading, says in a statement. "We welcome Amazon’s decision to end its Marketplace price parity policy across the European Union."
The Office of Fair Trading says that its investigation came about as a result of numerous complaints regarding Amazon's price parity requirement. It became concerned that the policy might prevent people or businesses from entering the UK market, would result in higher overall prices for consumers, and that Amazon could also raise the fees for those using the platform. While those restrictions are being lifted today throughout the EU, they still remain in place within the United States.