Business / Corporate

Amazon Japan to withdraw controversial reward point plan after FTC launched probe

JIJI

Amazon Japan G.K. will withdraw its plan to provide customers with reward points worth at least 1 percent of purchase amounts for all items on its shopping site, company sources said.

According to an announcement by the unit of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. in February, the costs for the reward points would have been shouldered by sellers using the company’s Marketplace platform, starting next month.

The Japanese firm’s decision to withdraw the plan came after the Fair Trade Commission opened an investigation into whether the new reward policy amounts to the firm’s abuse of its superior bargaining position over sellers using Marketplace.

Amazon Japan’s plan has been under fire from Marketplace sellers, which describe it as a unilateral decision by the company to impose excessive burdens on them.

In February, industry minister Hiroshige Seko said a unilateral contract change forcing Marketplace sellers to defray excessive costs would be a serious problem that hurts competition.

As well as withdrawing the plan, Amazon Japan will allow each Marketplace seller to decide a reward point policy by themselves, the sources said.