Monday, January 14, 2008

Scratch Your Head: French Fine Amazon for Free Shipping

The French Government is fining Amazon 1,000 euros ($1500 dollars) a day becasue they are offering Free Shipping on the Amazon.fr website. Here is the story according to Bloomberg.com

Amazon Pays EU1,000 Daily to Continue Free Shipping in France
By Heather Smith

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc., the world's largest online bookstore, will pay 1,000 euros ($1,500) a day in fines to continue offering free delivery in France while it appeals a December court ruling that declared the practice illegal.

Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of the Seattle-based company, sent an e-mail to customers of its French Web site saying Amazon will continue the free shipping while awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

``As amazing as this seems, free shipping by Amazon.fr is under threat,'' Bezos wrote in the e-mail, dated Jan. 12. ``France could be the only country in the world where Amazon's free delivery offer would be illegal.''

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Versailles, a Paris suburb, awarded a French booksellers' syndicate 100,000 euros and ordered Amazon to charge for shipping. The group argued that Amazon's practice violated the 1981 Lang law, which sets minimum prices for books sold in France. No-cost delivery on books shipped from Amazon's French warehouse in Orleans discounted them beyond the price floor, the court said....

This is very curious behaviour but I guess they are trying to protect B&M booksellers.

Just my 5 cents.

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