Recently enough, the All Indian Organisation of Chemist and Druggists had written to Jeff Bezos calling out the launch of Amazon’s e – pharmacy business as “illegal”. A new suit, against Amazon India, accuses it of anti-competitive practices by preferential treatment of seller entities like Cloudtail, Amazon Retail, and Amazon Wholesale, where it either holds a stake or they are its group companies.
In the latest case, reported by Reuters, the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), members of which sell goods on Amazon and Flipkart, alleged that Amazon engages in unfair business practices. CCI has admitted the complaint, filed on August 10, meaning it will study the case being made against Amazon and would decide on the next course of action accordingly. This includes summoning Amazon India executives to clarify the allegations and even starting a probe, reported TOI.
The case presents a new regulatory challenge for Amazon in India, where it has committed $6.5 billion in investment but is battling a complex regulatory environment. In January, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had ordered an investigation of Amazon and rival Flipkart owned by Walmart, over alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices, which Amazon is challenging, according to court filings.
AIOVA has alleged that Amazon India’s wholesale arm buys goods in bulk from manufacturers and sells them at a loss to sellers such as Cloudtail. Such sellers then offer goods on Amazon India at big discounts.
“This anti-competitive arrangement … is causing foreclosure of competition by driving independent sellers out of the market,” reads the filing at CCI.