It should come as great relief that Amazon have confirmed in a press release to the Office of Fair Trading OFT that there will be no longer any removal of sellers from its marketplace if that seller presents lower prices on other online sales platforms such as the sellers own website, eBay or Rakuten.
This decision came into effect on 29 August 2013 and to support this information you can find notes from the OFT here http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2013/60-13#.UvKQXLSgR6Q
It was always a policy we felt couldn’t be automated effectively by Amazon anyway; as some of our cart sellers naturally look cheaper at first glance say on their ‘website product page’ as the postage was only added at the checkout page.
I know of one case where Amazon took down a very large toy seller because of this very reason. The damage caused a lot of unnecessary effort and time to rectify the prices and of course lack of sales.
So OFT confirms you no longer have to match prices on your web cart or ebay/Rakuten with the price you offer on Amazon.
Another good bit of news is Amazon will not necessary be the cheapest market place to find the product and sellers websites can be given more focus effort once more to achieve higher ranking on search engines as the seller will get more profit.
So for our customers and others who have been banned from Amazon for breaking this policy. It may be an opportunity to see if you can get your account reinstated or even taken the matter further.
Canvendish Elithorn, OFT Senior Director of Goods and Consumer said “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 has not reached a decision as to whether there has been an infringement of competition law.”
So the latter seems to indicate the OFT are on the fence as to whether the policy was unlawful.
Let us rejoice that price fixing has been removed and to all those who formally complained our extended gratitude.
We can smile again and get back to making money!