Amazon abandons price parity clauses for good
The Bundeskartellamt has today terminated its proceedings against Amazon for enforcing price parity clauses on its Marketplace platform after the company had met the requirements set by the authority.
Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt:
"Before we closed the case we wanted to be sure that the price parity agreements had really been abolished. We therefore called for the legally binding deletion of the price parity clauses from Amazon's contractual conditions with all the sellers on its Marketplace platform and for Amazon to inform the sellers in no uncertain terms that it has changed its conditions and price parity strategy. Amazon has now fulfilled these requirements. The sellers on Amazon Marketplace have already confirmed this to the Bundeskartellamt. Amazon is the largest online retailer and directly competes with sellers on its Marketplace platform. Price specifications for one's own competitors can never be justified, not even with the undisputed advantages of an online marketplace."
In August 2013 Amazon had already announced that it would abandon the price parity clauses for its Marketplace and had already changed its general terms and conditions for some of the sellers (see press release of 27 August 2013). As there was a risk that Amazon might return to its previous business practice and the contractual conditions had only been changed for some of the sellers, the Bundeskartellamt had objected to the measures. It was also not certain that the sellers were aware that the price parity clauses had been cancelled. With the steps which the company has since undertaken, the authority's requirements have been fulfilled.
In these proceedings the Bundeskartellamt cooperated with the British competition authority, the Office of Fair Trading, within the scope of the Network of European Competition authorities, ECN. The authorities have thus ensured the abandonment of the price parity clauses EU-wide.