Amazon.com, Inc. is facing a lawsuit in the UK for up to £900 million ($1 billion) in damages over allegations that the online marketplace abused its dominant position by favoring its own products, lawyers said.
Consumer Rights Lawyer Julia Jaeger plans to file a class action lawsuit on behalf of UK consumers who have shopped on Amazon since October 2016, lawyers representing them said.
The proposed case – which Amazon described as “baseless” – would be the latest class action lawsuit against a tech giant to be brought before London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
Law Hausfeld company, which represents Huntersaid Thursday Amazon violated competition laws by using “a mysterious and self-serving algorithm” to promote its own products through the “Buy Box” feature on its website.
Hunter said in a statement: “Far from being a recommendation based on price or quality, the Buy Box favors products sold by Amazon itself or by retailers who pay Amazon to handle their logistics. Other sellers, no matter how good their offerings, are effectively shut out.”
An Amazon spokesman said in a statement: “This allegation is without foundation and we are confident that the court case will resolve this.”
The lawsuit is expected to be filed with the CAT by the end of this month and must be confirmed by the court before it can proceed.
It is brought on an “opt-out” basis, meaning that all potential claimants will be included in the claim unless they choose to opt-out.
The case follows an announcement by the UK antitrust authorities in July that they are investigating Amazon over alleged breaches of competition law, including the selection of products to be included in the “buy box” feature.
Amazon has been confronted with similar probes elsewhere and recently made an offer to the European Commission to avert potentially high EU antitrust fines.
The platform has also refused to describe its product search system to an Australian competition authority, which has heard complaints from major marketplace platforms favoring in-house wares.
The CAT approved a claim for damages estimated at £920 million ($1.1 billion). Google in July and approved another case worth up to £1.7billion against it Apple in May.
The tribunal is also due to decide in January whether to give the green light to a lawsuit worth up to £2.2bn meta platformsthe owner of Facebook and Instagramfor alleged anti-competitive behavior.
Google and Apple deny the allegations against them, and Meta did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.