India conducts antitrust raids on Amazon seller Cloudtail, Appario:sources

India’s antitrust regulator on Thursday launched raids on two domestic top sellers at online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. over allegations of violating competition laws, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Indian retailers, a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support base, have long claimed that Amazon’s platform largely benefits a few big sellers as the company engages in predatory pricing that hurts their business.

The company claims to comply with all Indian laws.

The exact nature of the alleged violations that led to Thursday’s raids was not immediately clear. The two sellers were Cloudtail and Appario, the sources said on condition of anonymity as the details weren’t public.

Amazon, which has an indirect stake in both, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cloudtail, Appario and the regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), also did not immediately respond to email inquiries.

A source said the raids, which were carried out in the capital New Delhi and in Bengaluru’s southern tech hub, were related to the January 2020 investigation ordered by CCI.

In this case, Amazon and Walmart’s rival, Flipkart, face allegations of anti-competitive practices, such as: B. promoting preferred sellers on websites and giving preference to offers from some sellers.

The companies reject the allegations, the antitrust investigations are ongoing.

Amazon has previously stated that it “does not favor any seller in its marketplace” and “treats all sellers fairly, transparently and non-discriminatoryly”.

A Reuters investigation last year, based on Amazon documents, showed that for years the company had given preferential treatment to a small group of sellers, including Cloudtail, and used it to circumvent Indian laws.

The report revealed that for years Amazon had helped a small number of sellers thrive on its platform with discounted fees and Cloudtail’s help in closing special deals with big tech companies.

The competition authority told a court that the Reuters report confirmed evidence it had received against Amazon.

In August, Amazon and Cloudtail decided that the latter would no longer be a seller by May 2022.

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