Amazon reportedly agrees to treat sellers better to end EU antitrust probes

An announcement could come as early as December 20th.

Eduardo Munoz / reuters

The European Commission and Amazon have reportedly come to an agreement that will allow the retail giant to avoid a fine for allegedly misusing seller data. According to The Financial Times, the company has pledged to give rival products equal treatment in the Buy Box section of its website, a move that should theoretically increase the visibility of the merchants selling those goods. Amazon also agreed to create alternate featured offers for customers less concerned about getting their purchase as quickly as possible, as well as give sellers free rein to decide on the company they want to deliver their goods.

According to The Times, the European Commission plans to announce the agreement on December 20th, though that date could shift. What won’t change are the terms of the deal. “There’s very little to discuss,” a source told the outlet. Once the agreement is formalized, Amazon will be required to honor its commitments for at least five years.

Amazon did not immediately respond to Engadget’s comment request. In July, when the company promised it would take steps to make its seller program fairer, Amazon said it felt it was being “unfairly” targeted by legislation like the Digital Markets Act. At the same time, the retailer said it was "engaged constructively" with regulators to address concerns about its business.

A deal with the European Union would give Amazon the chance to put to rest at least one aspect of a long saga. The European Commission began probing the company’s use of merchant data in 2019, almost a full year before The Wall Street Journal published a report alleging that Amazon had used seller data to design competing products. However, the company would still need to mollify US lawmakers and regulators. In April, the Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly began investigating the company’s use of third-party data. Before that, the Senate asked the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Amazon over the possibility of criminal obstruction.