Amazon has been hit with a £1bn class action lawsuit by UK independent sellers over its data practices. 

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), representing 35,000 independent sellers across the UK, alleges that Amazon used private data belonging to independent businesses to launch rival products at a similar time. 

According to BIRA, Amazon’s behaviour began in 2015 and continued into 2024. 

BIRA is seeking £1bn in damages for UK independent sellers, stating that the total UK marketplace has suffered a loss due to Amazon’s data practices. 

BIRA’s complaint also referred to a prior investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2022, stating that Amazon agreed to appoint an independent CMA approved trustee to avoid a full investigation by the watchdog. 

In a statement, BIRA said it had given the UK’s competition appeal tribunal over 1,000 pages of documents to support its claim against Amazon. 

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“One might ask why would an independent retailer use Amazon if it is so damaging to their business? In reality, we have seen a significant shift in consumer buying behaviour and, if small business want to sell online, Amazon is the dominant marketplace in the UK,” said BIRA CEO Andrew Goodacre. 

“Whilst the retailers knew about the large commissions charged by Amazon, they did not know about the added risk of their trading data being used by Amazon to take sales away from them,” he said. 

Goodacre stated that he was confident that the tribunal would authorise BIRA’s claim to go to court and called the case a watershed moment for UK independent and small businesses. 

International law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP have assisted on the class action. 

Boris Bronfentrinker, partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, stated that the power of Amazon was unrivalled in ecommerce

“No individual retailer, no matter how large, is willing to get into the lion’s den and take the fight to Amazon, but fortunately BIRA has shown that it will stand up and fight for UK retailers,” stated Bronfentrinker. 

“Retailers in the UK were entitled to be treated better and fairly by Amazon. They were not, and this claim will deliver back to them the more than a billion pounds in damages that has been caused to them,” he said.