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The lawsuit filed in a London court stated that between October 2015 and the present date, Amazon used data belonging to UK retailers on the company’s marketplace — data that is non-public and belongs solely and specifically to the retailers.

A trade association representing thousands of small retailers in the United Kingdom wants its day in court against Amazon.

These same merchants also want £1 billion ($1.28 billion) from Amazon. The British Independent Retailers Association is representing the merchants in a newly filed lawsuit. The association alleges Amazon is “illegally misusing their data and manipulating the Amazon Buy Box to benefit its commercial operation and its overall revenues and profit.”

The lawsuit filed in a London court stated that between October 2015 and the present date, Amazon used data belonging to UK retailers on the company’s marketplace. It says the data is non-public and belongs solely and specifically to the retailers.

Amazon has yet to comment publicly on the lawsuit.

The Featured Offer (formerly Buy Box) is a window that appears at the top right of a product detail page. It’s above the Buy Now button.

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“This automated component lifts products above the competition to help customers find what they need and compare alternatives based on factors like product price, condition, and shipping speed,” Amazon says.

Amazon ranks No. 1 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest North American online retailers. Amazon is also No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces Database, which ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by third-party GMV.

Why are UK merchants filing a lawsuit against Amazon?

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges Amazon used the data in combination with manipulating the Amazon Buy Box. In doing so, the suit says, Amazon used a product-entry strategy that diverted sales revenue and profits from these retailers to Amazon.

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“By misusing their proprietary data to bring to market rival products that are sold cheaper, Amazon is effectively pushing many of the UK’s independent retailers out of the market,” according to the lawsuit. “The consequences of Amazon’s abusive conduct have been to inflate its profits and harm the UK retail sector, especially the smaller independent retailers who are struggling at a time of difficult economic circumstances.”

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon alleges that products sold by third-party retailers were less likely to appear in the Buy Box than Amazon’s products, reinforcing the anticompetitive effect of Amazon’s decisions to take sales away from third-party retailers.

“Amazon set itself up through these unlawful practices to maximize the profit it would make and, in doing so, it must have known about the damage it would cause to third-party retailers,” according to the lawsuit.

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“One might ask why an independent retailer would use Amazon if it were so damaging to their business?” says association president Andrew Goodacre. “In reality, we have seen a significant shift in consumer buying behavior and, if small businesses want to sell online, Amazon is the dominant marketplace in the UK. As a result, for small retailers with limited resources, Amazon is the marketplace to start online trading. While 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.”

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