Amazon shoppers in the UK could receive a share of £900m in compensation, once a legal claim is submitted against the technology giant.
According to reports on BBC, the proposed claim alleges the company breached competition law and caused customers to pay higher prices.
It is being led by consumer-rights champion Julie Hunter, who says products sold on Amazon.co.uk and the Amazon app obscured better-value deals.
The collective action is due to be filed before the end of the month.
Started as an online bookseller, Amazon is now the biggest e-commerce company in the world.
More than 80% of purchases on the site are made via featured offers in the “buy box”.
But Ms Hunter alleges independent sellers are excluded from the buy box, even when they offer the same product cheaper or on better terms – thus breaching UK and EU competition law.
“Nine out of 10 shoppers in the UK have used Amazon, according to surveys, and two-thirds use it at least once a month,” she said.
Ms Hunter alleges Amazon uses “tricks of design to manipulate consumer choice and direct customers towards the features offers in its buy box”.
This featured offer is the only one considered and selected by the vast majority of users, many of whom trust Amazon and wrongly assume it is the best deal, according to Ms Hunter.
The legal action, to be filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in London, will seek damages from Amazon estimated in the region of £900m.
David Greene, from the London Solicitors Litigation Association, told BBC News the likelihood of success was difficult to assess.
“Clearly Amazon will fight the case at all stages, including class certification, but the tribunal has made a number of orders recently for similar actions, certifying the optout process,” he said.
“Big tech companies are well resourced to fight.”
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