July 20, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Bol.com under fire after complaints from Dutch sellers about unfair competition |  outside

Bol.com under fire after complaints from Dutch sellers about unfair competition | outside

In the Netherlands, the Bol.com online store is under heavy criticism. The company, based in Utrecht, is accused of favoring itself and some entrepreneurs at the expense of other sellers on the platform. The Dutch competition regulator, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), is conducting an investigation.

ACM does not mention the name of the online store itself, but talks about an investigation into an online platform. Bol.com confirms that it has received questions from the watchdog about the way the company set up its platform for sales partners.

The largest webstore in the Netherlands, with a distribution center in Waalwijk, not only sells many items itself, but also allows other sellers to be present on its platform. Many of these sales partners have complained to ACM that their offers are less clear, even if they offer the best prices.

“They claim that offers from the online platform itself or from certain entrepreneurs are favoured. There are also signs that the online platform is using data from entrepreneurs to strengthen its position on the platform,” ACM explains.

A fine or order subject to punishment

The purpose of the investigation is to find out whether Bol.com is actually violating the law. In this case, ACM can take action, for example by imposing a fine or penalty.

Bol.com says it will answer the regulator's questions. “It goes without saying that we will cooperate fully with the ACM investigation. Our colleagues are working hard to provide the supervisor with all necessary information.

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The online sales platform also confirms that it considers the relationship with its sales partners “extremely important.” “We are always looking for ways to improve our platform and look forward to searching with confidence.”

Other platforms

ACM does not want to say whether complaints have also been received in the Netherlands about other platforms. Similar accusations are often made against large web stores. The US Competition Commission FTC accused Amazon last year of monopolistic behavior in the field of online markets.

Amazon will essentially force sellers on its platform to use its own logistics and delivery services. In return, their products are placed more prominently on Amazon, the FTC said. Amazon has also been blamed in the US for penalizing sellers who charge lower prices for their items on competing sites. Amazon denied these accusations. The company said it would defend itself in court.

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