ACCC To Examine eBay, Amazon, Kogan And Catch As Part Of Inquiry Into Online Marketplaces

Las Vegas - Circa June 2019: Fulfillment Center. Amazon is the Largest Internet-Based Retailer in the United States

The ACCC is extending the scope of its inquiry into digital platforms, with online marketplaces eBay Australia, Amazon Australia, Kogan and all set to come under the microscope.

The competition watchdog has today released an issues paper outlining topics such as the degree of competition in the Australian sector, data collection by these marketplaces , the ability of customers to leave reviews and relationships between general online retail marketplaces and third-party sellers.

“These online marketplaces are an important and growing segment of the economy, so it is important that we understand how online marketplaces operate and whether they are working effectively for consumers and businesses,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“We want to be sure that the rules that apply to traditional retail are also complied with in the online context. We are keen to hear about the experiences of Australians, both consumers and businesses.”

The ACCC pointed to the recent surge in eCommerce as a reason for the inquiry.

Online purchases grew by 57 per cent in 2020 year-on-year, according to the ACCC.

“Online marketplaces offer many benefits to consumers who can shop around for a variety of products in one place, and for sellers which may be able to contract out services such as warehousing, packing, and shipping to the marketplaces,” Mr Sims said.

“But we would expect the marketplace to operate fairly for businesses and consumers alike and comply with consumer laws and competition laws.”

This latest inquiry comes as part of the ACCC’s continued efforts to monitor digital platforms in the Australian market.

The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Branch – which was created following the release of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry in 2019 -is currently undertaking a five-year inquiry into the supply of digital platform services in Australia.

So far, the inquiry has looked at the provision of web browsers and general search services to Australian consumers, the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices and online private messaging services in Australia.

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