Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report has been slapped with a whopping US$1.3 billion fine by Italy’s antitrust regulator for crowding out its competitors by favoring third-party sellers that use the company’s logistics services.
The regulator found that Amazon favored sellers in Italy that paid it to use its warehouse and delivery services, including by making them more likely to appear as the default option, or “Buy Box,” when consumers click to buy a product, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The fine of 1.13 billion euros comes as Amazon awaits the outcome of a similar investigation being carried out by the European Union. The EU last year separately filed antitrust charges against Amazon for allegedly using non-public data from third-party sellers to compete against them.
Amazon called the fine and remedies outlined by Italian authorities “unjustified and disproportionate” and said it would appeal.
Companies including Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google and Meta Platform’s (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report Facebook have in the past two years faced formal investigations, charges or fines in a variety of cases filed by the EU and countries including the U.S., U.K., France and Germany. The companies have denied wrongdoing.
The European Commission last November accused Seattle-based Amazon of unfairly using its power to promote its own products, giving it an advantage over other product sellers on its platform.
Another investigation focused on alleged preferential treatment of its own retail offers and those of marketplace sellers that are customers of its logistics and delivery services.
In addition to the $1.3 billion fine, the Italian regulator ordered Amazon to offer “fair and nondiscriminatory standards” for listings from third-party sellers, which it would monitor through an appointed trustee.
Shares of Amazon were down 0.52% at $3,505 in premarket trading. Year to date the stock is up 10.56%.