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BREAKING NEWS: ACCC Investigates Kogan, Catch, eBay & Amazon

Kogan has been fined several times by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for questionable trading practices – now the ACCC is set to conduct a wider investigation of leading online retailers in the Australian consumer electronics and appliance market.

Kogan, Catch, Amazon, and eBay are set to be investigated as part of the consumer watchdog’s digital platforms inquiry to see whether they operate fairly and comply with consumer and competition laws.

With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing consumers to these marketplaces, online shopping grew by 57 per cent year-on-year in 2020, consumers spending a record $50.5 billion online last year.

The Commission intends to examine online marketplaces, their relationships with both customers and third-party sellers, and their effect on competition in Australia.

Rod Sims, ACCC.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims described online marketplaces as an important and growing segment of the economy.

“It is important that we understand how online marketplaces operate and whether they are working effectively for consumers and businesses.

“We want to be sure that the rules that apply to traditional retail are also complied with in the online context. We are keen to hear about the experiences of Australians, both consumers and businesses,” he said.

According to Sims, areas covered will include pricing; data use; terms and conditions for third-party sellers; competition in marketplaces such as Amazon where the company is itself a seller; and complaints and reviews procedures.

“Online marketplaces offer many benefits to consumers who can shop around for a variety of products in one place, and for sellers which may be able to contract out services such as warehousing, packing, and shipping to the marketplaces.

“But we would expect the marketplace to operate fairly for businesses and consumers alike and comply with consumer laws and competition laws,” he said.

Kogan has been in the ACCC’s crosshairs in the past for misleading promotions, while Amazon is facing antitrust lawsuits around the world as it defends its practice of competing against third-party sellers on its own platform.

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