e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) is under investigation from Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (BKA) for allegedly abusing its market dominance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to local media reports, the investigation from German antitrust authorities is looking at Amazon’s relationship with third-party sellers and their claim that the Seattle-based online retailer blocked some of them from its platform for allegedly ramping up their prices early on in the pandemic.
“We are currently investigating whether and how Amazon influences the price-setting of third-party traders on the marketplace,” Andreas Mundt, president of BKA was quoted as saying by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, which was the first to report the investigation.
“Amazon must not be a controller of prices,” Mundt added, noting that the company had responded to his office’s requests for information.
According to Reuters, Amazon has refuted the allegations, claiming, the company’s “systems are designed to take action against price gouging.”
It’s worth pointing out that Germany is Amazon’s second-biggest global market, after the US. and that the Cartel Office has the power to fine companies hundreds of millions of euros.
Amazon shares closed 13 points lower at $3,148 on Friday. The shares traded $23.77, or 0.76%, higher at $3,171.79 in the pre-market session on Monday.