Amazon, cyber-bullying to the detriment of consumers and suppliers. Great Italian Food Trade is appealing again to the Antitrust Authority for the restoration of legality in the trading of food products through e-commerce by the American giant.
Amazon, hidden information
Great Italian Food Trade has already reported to the Antitrust Authority several cases of wrongful and defective information.
The inquiry was conducted on 250 products – 20% of those exposed for sale by Amazon – and highlighted the systematic lack of basic information required by the Food Information Regulation. (1) Further investigations have shown the unsuitability of the Amazon Pantry service to inform consumers about the essential characteristics of food for sale.
Unlawful behaviours – sometimes food frauds – emerged in a subsequent analysis of products on the ecommerce portal in question. But the Antitrust Authority hasn’t yet provided any feedback. (2)
Illegality persists, in disregard for the rights of consumers, especially the most vulnerable such as consumers with allergies or intolerances. Amazon is still selling food without providing basic mandatory information, i.e. ingredients list, food allergens, name of the product and nutrition declaration are just a few examples of unlawful information.
Amazon, unfair trading practices
The procedures adopted by Amazon – which our independent information site has collected and shared with the Antitrust – reveal the intrinsic unsuitability of the system to guarantee consumers’ information rights, as recognized by the Regulation EU No. 1169/11. And there is more.
Commercial relationships – imposed by the Cupertino giant to its suppliers – are based on contract terms which are in clear contrast with the principles of correctness and proportionality in economical performances, as established in Italy.
Amazon’s abuse of power explains the burdens imposed to suppliers, which include the transfer of commercial risks inherent to its business activity. Thereby altering the competition and the market that the Antitrust Authority ought to guarantee in Italy.
Abuse and dominance are in front of the eyes of consumers, blinded by the illusion of saving money and time, no matter what. All at the social cost of labor exploitation and tax evasion (which was granted in Luxembourg by the now President of the European Commission).
Amazon, let’s halt cyber-bullying!
E-commerce is expected to grow, even on the old continent, thanks to digital natives. The fateful Millennials, and even more the Centennials, are more familiar with the smartphone than the shopping cart.
Despite that, rights can’t be sold off with a prepaid card or a PayPal account. All the more – in this increasingly ‘liquid’ economy, predicted by Zygmunt Bauman – it is crucial to ensure the strict application of rules.
Ecommerce operators’ responsibilities are clearly defined, in the food sector as in others. It is time for everyone, starting with the No. 1 in the West, to fall into line without delay.
Let’s halt cyber-bullying!
Dario Dongo and Giulia Torre
(1) See Regulation UE No 1169/11 art. 24
(2) We are still waiting for news from the Antitrust Authority on the reporting of five cases of Milk Sounding. The first, concerning the false declaration ‘80% milk’ on Galatine candies, already censored by the IAP (“Istituto dell’Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria”, the Italian Institution of Ad Self-Regulation). See https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/consum-attori/galatine-80-latte-falso