Amazon to alter pricing policy for traders

Amazon in Germany Amazon will make the change to its pricing policy on Friday

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Online retailer Amazon is to alter its pricing policy for third-party traders amid investigations in the UK and Germany.

It will drop a clause banning traders signed up to its Marketplace platform from offering products elsewhere for less.

The change will come into force across the EU from Friday.

As a result, the inquiries in the UK into whether the policy was anti-competitive are expected to be closed.

'Wide impact'

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK and the Federal Cartel Office in Germany have been investigating Amazon over the policy, following numerous complaints.

The OFT was looking into whether Amazon's policy could affect the prices that traders charged, including on their own websites.

It was also concerned that it could restrict the entry of other traders into the market.

Now, as a result of Amazon's change of policy, it said it was minded to close the investigation, while the German authorities said they wanted to check the policy was definitely withdrawn.

"We welcome Amazon's decision to end its Marketplace price parity policy across the European Union," said Cavendish Elithorn of the OFT.

"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.

"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.

"The OFT recommends that other companies operating similar policies review them carefully. Businesses concerned that they are being prevented from setting their own prices should not hesitate to contact the OFT."

However, the OFT said that it understood that Amazon's price parity policy remained in place elsewhere, such as in the US.

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