French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

The US giant Amazon logo is pictured on the opening day of a new distribution center in Augny, near Metz, eastern France
(Photo: Sebastien Bozon / AFP)

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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French food group to send baby formula to USA

French food group Danone said on Friday it would send an additional 500,000 packages of medical-grade baby formula to the United States, currently stricken by shortages, by the end of June.

French food group to send baby formula to USA

A spokesman said the packages of the Neocate brand formula for babies with allergies to cow’s milk should be available to distribute to families at the beginning of July.

The spokesman said Danone had more than doubled shipments of Neocate to the United States in recent months, but declined to provide a figure.

Scarcity of medical-grade baby formula in the United States caused by production problems and supply-chain issues has created grave problems for thousands of parents whose infants rely on it, sending them in frantic searches for the product.

The United States has even used its military planes to help speed up exports from Europe.

Danone’s rival Nestle shipped 31 tonnes of baby formula to the United States on Sunday.