When Adidas instituted a global policy banning dealers from listing products on eBay and Amazon.com effective January 2013, the revelation made headlines. The company told EcommerceBytes at the time that the guidelines would ensure that Adidas and Reebok would be “presented in the right environment at all times.”
Retailers and online merchants are familiar with manufacturer-imposed restrictions. eBay revealed in 2007 it was working with manufacturers, and now eBay is asking for sellers’ help to further study the practice.
Last month, eBay asked its sellers in the UK to take a survey, writing, “Have your voice heard – We’re working with Choice in eCommerce to conduct a short survey about how businesses are impacted by manufacturer-imposed limitations and restrictions. We’ll be presenting results to stakeholders including the European Commission.”
Choice in eCommerce launched the survey in December. “This is the third Europe-wide survey on sales bans in online trade. With your replies you can shed light on the issue and show how restrictions and bans severely affect online sellers and consumers,” it said.
In 2013, Choice in eCommerce published the results of a survey it had conducted of over 2,000 European online sellers that showed almost 60 percent of respondents said they had been negatively affected by sales restrictions, “with some sellers fearing insolvency as a consequence.” “Moreover, the survey shows that sales prohibitions have a negative effect on trade between EU countries,” according to the Choice in eCommerce press release from 2013.
As for Adidas, Law360.com reported in 2014 that after Germany’s competition regulator initiated an anti-competition investigation into online distribution policies, the apparel company rolled back the restrictions for dealers who adhered to company guidelines.