LONDON — The European Commission said Tuesday that Amazon breached European antitrust rules by using independent sellers’ data for its own benefit.It has also announced a second formal investigation into the company’s e-commerce processes.- Advertisement – The commission’s second antitrust investigation will look at how the company choses which sellers offer products via Amazon Prime, its paid-for premium service. It will investigate the possible preferential treatment of Amazon’s own retail business and those that use its logistics and delivery services (known as “fulfilment by Amazon” sellers) over other sellers.It will also look into the Amazon’s “buy box” function, which offers customers a one-click button to add a product to their shopping cart. U.S. regulators and third-party sellers have previously questioned Amazon over which products get placed in the all-important buy box. Amazon maintains that the buy-box features the offer it thinks customers will prefer overall, while factoring in things like price, delivery speed and Prime.Vestager said that, while going through 80 million transactions and 100 million products listed on Amazon marketplace, “it became increasingly clear that there might something that we should look into further on the buy box.”The company will have now the chance to examine the commission’s conclusions and reply in writing or via an oral hearing.Clarification: The European Commissions has confirmed that its Statement of Objections, published Tuesday, does not constitute legal charges against Amazon.— CNBC’s Anne Palmer contributed to this report. – Advertisement – The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, launched a probe into the online retailer in July 2019 on concerns over anti-competitive behavior.Amazon said it disagreed with the commission’s assertions and “will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.” It said that it represents less than 1% of the global retail market.“No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon,” the e-commerce giant said.- Advertisement – In a statement, the commission said Amazon was using the data of third-party sellers — such as order numbers, revenues and number of visitors — to inform its strategic business decisions, like reducing the price of products.The issue arises because of Amazon’s dual role in selling products itself, and acting as a platform for independent — sometimes rival — sellers.“Data on the activity of third-party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said in the statement.- Advertisement –
Around 9,400 home loan customers will be refunded an $11m refund.ONE of Australia’s big four banks will refund millions to home loan customers after a 23-year glitch was discovered in its system.Around 9,400 owner-occupiers with interest-only loans will be up for a massive $11 million refund from Westpac because of a “longstanding error” in the bank’s systems, according to ASIC.And there could be much more to come with the bank yet to reveal remediation for investor customers with interest-only loans affected by the same system error.The error spans a period from 1993 to August 2016 and saw interest-only home loans fail to switch automatically to principal and interest repayments at the end of a contracted interest-only period.“As a result, affected customers did not start paying any principal on their loans at the time agreed with the bank, and now have less time to repay the principal amount of their loans. These customers would also have paid more in interest,” it said.Westpac has to now refund the additional interest paid from when the loans was supposed to automatically move to principal and interest repayments and give customers an interest rate discount for the rest of their loan.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours ago“This remediation has been designed so that customers pay no more interest over the life of the loan than they would have if the system error had not occurred.”Westpac chief executive consumer bank, George Frazis apologised on behalf of Westpac saying: “We want our customers to have confidence that if we get something wrong, we acknowledge it and we put it right”.“We apologise unreservedly for the error and have now automated the switching process to ensure it does not happen again. Importantly, customers don’t need to do anything. We are contacting customers proactively and will provide compensation to anyone who we believe has been financially disadvantaged.”Mr Frazis confirmed all interest only investor loans were also being looked into but added “many investors prefer to continue their interest only loan repayments for financial reasons, including positive tax implications”.ASIC acting Chair Peter Kell said greater scrutiny into interest-only loans was seeing lenders improve how they provide those loans “including in lenders identifying system errors”.He warned that all banks should review their systems to reduce the chance of such errors occurring.“If past errors are identified, remediation needs to be timely, transparent and effective.’ASIC said it would continue to monitor the situation.
RelatedPosts Trump’s question to Buhari: CAN sold Nigeria to US — MURIC What I told Trump when he asked me: ‘Why are you killing Christians?’ — Buhari US not a fully developed country — Trump US President Donald Trump responded to a question on why black Americans are still dying at the hands of police by pointing to higher numbers of white people killed by law enforcement.Trump said this in an interview with CBS News published on Tuesday. “What a terrible question to ask,” Trump said, adding: “So are white people.“More white people, by the way.“More white people.”Studies show that a disproportionate number of black Americans are killed by police compared to white people, who make up a much larger share of the US population.There are no country-wide official statistics on deaths at the hands of the police in the US, but a Washington Post analysis indicates that in absolute terms, the number of white people killed by police is indeed higher. Of the 5,400 people fatally shot by police since 2015, black people made up 23 per cent of those killed, despite accounting for only 13 per cent of the population.Meanwhile, 45 per cent were white, despite 60 per cent of the US population being white.According to a study from Harvard University released in June, black Americans are more than three times more likely to be killed by police.Trump has in recent weeks escalated his rhetoric against the Black Lives Matter movement, which has received unprecedented support in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minnesota police custody.The US president has been accused of taking no clear stance against systematic racism and police brutality. He has focused primarily on violence on the fringes of peaceful demonstrations.dpa/NAN.Tags: Donald TrumpWhite deaths