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This article was published on February 20, 2013

Amazon in hot water again in Germany as watchdog probes its pricing policies

Amazon in hot water again in Germany as watchdog probes its pricing policies
Matt Brian
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Matt Brian

Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him Matt is the former News Editor for The Next Web. You can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his updates on Facebook and catch up with him on Google+.

Amazon’s operations in Germany are set to come under further scrutiny after the country’s competition watchdog announced it would launch a probe claims its pricing policies banning third-party sellers from lowering prices on other commerce sites.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, the Federal Cartel Office (or Bundeskartellamt) said in a statement that it had already begun speaking to thousands of third-party sellers using Amazon’s marketplace to sell their goods online.

Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt says Amazon might be breaching cartel rules in the country, if it is found to be restricting product pricing: “Amazon’s price parity clause – which denies traders the freedom of offering a product cheaper elsewhere – may breach general cartel rules.”

“This is particularly the case if restricting a trader’s price-setting freedom also hampers competition between different Internet market places,” Mundt added.

It’s another blow for Amazon in Germany; Today’s action follows a damning TV documentary accusing the company of using a security firm with ties to neo-Nazi organisations at one of its logistics centers.

Conducting an investigation, Amazon fired its German security contractors, stating that it has a ”zero tolerance limit for discrimination and intimidation and expects the same of other companies it works with.”