Small Business Ombudsman tells Amazon to comply with Australian legislation

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 20th September 2017

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has written to Amazon, asking them to ensure they comply with Australia’s unfair contract terms legislation.

The letter was written ahead of the arrival of Amazon Marketplace, a platform which will allow businesses to sell their goods online through Amazon.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said Amazon Marketplace will offer an opportunity for Australian businesses, but Amazon needs to ensure it operates within Australian legislation.

“For consumers the Amazon Marketplace promises to expand choice and put downward pressure on prices,” Ombudsmen Carnell said.

“I’m interested to see how Australian small businesses can accelerate sales and broaden their customer base though the Amazon platform.”

Carnell said Marketplace contracts with businesses in the US would not be compliant in Australia. Under US terms, Amazon reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, terminate rights to use Amazon services, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at its sole discretion.

“This may be considered unfair as action can be taken by one party, Amazon, but not the other party, the vendor, to terminate the contract,” Carnell said.

“I’ve requested that Amazon review the terms and conditions in use for standard form contracts in its Australian operations to ensure they comply with the unfair contracts terms legislation.”

In response to the letter, Amazon released the following statement to the media:

“We look forward to launching Amazon Marketplace in Australia and providing thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs with tools and services that help them to reach millions of customers and to expand their businesses both here and abroad. We will, of course, adhere to all local laws in relation to our agreements with Marketplace sellers.”


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