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Amazon to end ban on cheaper sales to rivals by vendors news
30 August 2013

Online retailer Amazon says it will alter its policy on pricing for third-party traders with investigations underway in the UK and Germany.

The retailer would scrap a clause which bars vendors signed up to its Marketplace platform from selling products cheaper elsewhere.

The change is set to take effect across the EU today.

Consequently, inquiries in the UK into whether the policy was anti-competitive are likely to be closed.

Amazon has been under the scanner of The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK as also the Federal Cartel Office in Germany, over the policy following numerous complaints.

The OFT has been investigating whether the retailer's policy could affect the prices that traders charged, including on their own websites.

It was also considering whether the policy could restrict the entry of other traders into the market.

With Amazon's change of policy, OFT said it would close the investigation, while the German authorities said they wanted to check whether the policy had been definitely withdrawn.

The Office of Fair Trading started investigations in October 2012 over concerns that Amazon's policy for its Marketplace retailers was potentially anti-competitive and could lead to higher prices for consumers.

"We are pleased that sellers are now completely free to set their prices as they wish, as this encourages price competition and ensures consumers can get the best possible deals," said Cavendish Elithorn, OFT senior director of goods and consumer in a statement on the regulator's website.

According to the OFT it had not reached a decision as to whether there had been an infringement of competition law and continued to monitor the online retail sector adding that it might use its power to investigate such price parity policies at any time.

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Amazon to end ban on cheaper sales to rivals by vendors