Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Mar 12 2019 11:13:22

Under Scrutiny, Amazon Kills Price Parity Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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Under increasing scrutiny over what some see as anti-competitive practices, Amazon reportedly eliminated its price parity requirement. The move comes after Senator Warren's call on Friday to break up the company over antitrust concerns, which gained widespread attention.

Amazon.com's price parity clause prohibits sellers from offering items they list on Amazon at a lower price anyplace else. The link to the policy now goes to a blank help page, but here's what it had said when we wrote about it 6 years ago:

"By our General Pricing rule, you must always ensure that the item price and total price of an item you list on Amazon.com are at or below the item price and total price at which you offer and/or sell the item via any other online sales channel."

That was unpopular with sellers who wished to offer lower prices elsewhere, including on their own websites where they did not have to pay Amazon fees.

Germany began looking into the practice in 2012, and under pressure, Amazon ended the price parity policy across the European Union as of August 30, 2013, but it left the policy in place in the US.

We're uncertain whether other marketplaces will adjust their own policies in response.



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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Under Scrutiny, Amazon Kills Price Parity Policy   Under Scrutiny, Amazon Kills Price Parity Policy

by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 11:33:36 2019

Walmart is absolutely the worst at this! I hope they are put under the microscope as well. I didn't see much enforcement personally on Amazon, but Walmart has a bot that deactivates listings constantly based on what it THINKS is a competing product at Amazon. I am constantly getting items deactivated from both accurate and inaccurate comparisons.

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 11:51:24 2019

Its about time Amazon starts to get looked at, hopefully the look goes deeper and deeper and then moves on to other venues like Ebay. These monsters have gotten away with way to much.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 14:03:27 2019

I've consistently ignored Amazon policy regarding that. I offer the same items often on Amz, eBay, my website and others -- all, often, at different prices. Some at, higher, lower, matching prices. Never received any problem from Amazon or any other marketplace.

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 16:29:44 2019

Does not fleecebag have the same policy or something similar to it?????

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 12 21:42:56 2019

Here's a question to scrutinize a bit: How can a venue perform what is essentially compulsory price control on inventory they don't own and then argue for the right to charge whatever fees they deem without oversight?

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Mar 12 22:06:52 2019

Ya, "Uncle" Griff of Ebay once told me I had to have my Best prices on Ebay or they'd take down my listings.
Turns out, the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, so I reaped the gains  :o)
Our business is nobody's business.
Amazon, Ebay, and the rest need to shut up.
You don't see eCrater flappin' their gums.  

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 13 00:24:46 2019

I can confirm with @sellerchick, Walmart is 100X worse when it comes to this.. I've always ignored Amazon's "rule" about that but with Walmart you have to give them your seller ID for Amazon when you sign up so they can constantly monitor it.. God forbid you list an item on Walmart that you don't have on AZ.

What they need to do is go after them for cutting sellers throats with under pricing.. AZ is constantly pricing down to less than 25 cents over wholesale cost.. Walmart (I ran a test on this a couple years ago) will reprice you down to a penny no matter what the wholesale cost is.. I took a couple of items that I knew 100% what Walmarts wholesale cost was and ran both of them down in $1 increments to see just how far they would go (luckily no one ever bought one of them while I was doing it) but they cut the price down each time to a penny below what I priced them at.. all the way down to 1 cent.
What I should have done was run the price down then have someone else come in and buy up all of Walmarts inventory.. but I figured somehow I would screw myself so I didn't.
To me that's what they should be going after them for.....  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Mar 13 06:06:05 2019

Snapped, you nailed it.

And speaking of Amazon, another brand was gated yesterday.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Mar 13 07:57:30 2019

I don't recall that rule when I signed up but wouldn't have followed it if I had.  Scamazon fees and shipping shortages and sponsored fraud are just too high.

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by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 13 09:48:33 2019

The End: You also don't see ecrater getting many sales.

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 00:37:08 2019

Agreed that eCrater is no eBay but I have had over 2000 sales on eCrater, so there is some activity there, much better than eBid or Bonanza.

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by: Dellthorpe This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 01:01:45 2019

Amazon, Ebay and the other sites r going to do whatever they want to the smaller sellers because they know that they can get away with it. Our elected officials will do nothing because even if it violates any laws for they r only worried about campaign contributions. They make the USDOJ and the FTC b quiet. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple should b broken up but no one will do it for fear of losing campaign dollars. They r all at the bottom of the swamp.  When the big get going the small get flattened.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 01:46:32 2019

Thank goodness for the Europeans.

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst
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Thu Mar 14 05:12:17 2019

Love Warren, at least she looks after some small guys. The next one should be to break up Amazon because they COPY all the Top Sellers, after they trick brands into STOPPING sales to resellers and forcing them to sell only in the Amazopoly marketplace. Once they gather enough stats, they know what sells and what does not sell, they simply contact a bottom-feeder-penny-making "manufacturer" and copy the top sellers. When a user performs any search query, their COPIES show on the top, sides and bottom, offering them as "better", "more popular" or "more affordable" "suggestions". Always cheaper. Try to compete against Amazopoly INSIDE Amazon, if you think is hard to compete with Amazon in your world, just think about the kind of nasty tricks Amazopoly uses to kill the little guy. When are those greedy Amazon rats will say " I have enough yatchs and ferraris, I think I will give a break to the small slaves for a week or two"?

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by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 08:00:46 2019

throughout history the dictators , rich and powerful , the presidents , the kings and queens have taxed and stolen and monopolized so much from the hard workers , the peasants , and not so lucky people , that all that is left is war on whatever. when faced with starving and death , what is left for the people to do. no one ever learns from history.

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by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 08:54:14 2019

Bull****. Amz caused me to lose over 10K a few years ago. I found some nice and unusual items that were selling quickly. They bought the same one, dropped their prices below wholesale, ran me out, sold elsewhere, then they jacked up the price from 50-100%!!

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 14 13:28:55 2019

To those people who say "It's their sandbox/company/website - so they get to make the rules."

Can you see how that is NOT the case?  There is a myriad of law, rules and regulations - and political whims - which a company must comply and deal with.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Mar 15 04:31:49 2019

@geoffreymason:
"You also don't see ecrater getting many sales. "
True, and, oddly, I got a sale from eCrater about 10 hours after I posted here.
Maybe I should do it again  :o)
I learned to have Several "revenue streams".
And that doesn't include my Real World revenue streams.
God Bless America.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 15 21:59:58 2019

I have a website - I call it "storage" my items are cheaper on the website but I really don't think eBay is worried much. My sales are barely paying the monthly fees to have a website. Why do I have it then? Well at this point in time I'm glad to have it. I'm going to need that storage spot to mirror my product once GTC kicks in. As for Amazon I could care less what the heck their doing. My main category is gated and it seems that regardless of the fact that I've sold $20 mill ( yes millions ) retail over the years Amazon doesn't want me. I NEVER shop there either. AND with the divorce pending - who knows what's going to happen to Amazon - thinking the Ex is going to have a really big greedy hand in matters soon.

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by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 16 23:01:32 2019


How does scAmazon know sellers offer their items for less elsewhere?   Unless you are too big to be missed.

I have always gotten away with it.  But I use a different handle.



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