Amazon faces £900m legal action over 'breach of competition law'

Amazon could face a collective legal claim worth £900 million for allegedly breaking UK and EU competition rules.

The claim, which has not yet been submitted, accuses the e-commerce giant of directing users of its website and app to offers that benefit it while concealing offers that could be better for consumers.

Consumer rights advocate Julie Hunter wants to represent tens of millions of Amazon users in the opt-out collective action, expected to be filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London soon.

The e-commerce giant is accused of unlawfully abusing its dominant position by placing in the Buy Box those offers that benefit Amazon while obscuring better-value deals.

The proposed legal action refers to Amazon's Buy Box offers.

It claims that purchases are steered towards the company's featured offer, which it says is the "only offer considered and selected by the vast majority of users, many of whom trust Amazon and wrongly assume it is the best deal".

“Many consumers believe that Amazon offers good choice and value, but instead it uses tricks of design to manipulate consumer choice and direct customers towards the featured offer in its Buy Box," said Julie Hunter, who is launching the claim through Hausfeld, which is leading the litigation.

Hunter continued: “Online shoppers have a right to be treated fairly and to be able to make informed decisions. This lack of transparency and manipulation of choice is an abuse of consumers’ trust, as well as a raid on their wallets."

Anyone who lives in the UK and made purchases on Amazon.co.uk or on the Amazon app since October 2016 is an eligible member of the claimant class.

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