ANAZON customers could receive a share of £900 million in compensation following the launch of a legal claim.
A legal claim has been launched against the retail giant for allegedly breaking competition law and causing shoppers to pay higher prices.
It is being lead by Julie Hunter, who alleges that Amazon's buy box – which contains the "add to basket" and "buy now" buttons – prevents customers from finding the best deals.
The legal action, to be filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, claims that the box conceals potentially cheaper offers by third-party retailers, in favour of products it sells itself.
The collective action is due to be filed before the end of the month.
Ms Hunter, a consumer advocate, claims Amazon uses "tricks of design to manipulate consumer choice and direct customers towards the features offers in its buy box".
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She added: “Online shoppers have a right to be treated fairly and to be able to make informed decisions.
"This lack of transparency and manipulation of choice is an abuse of consumers’ trust, as well as a raid on their wallets.
"Amazon occupies an incredibly powerful position in the market, making it impossible for consumers to take individual action.
"Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to set the rules in its favour and treat consumers unfairly. That is why I am bringing this action.”
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Lesley Hannah, partner at Hausfeld & Co LLP, who along with partner Anna Morfey is leading the litigation, argues Amazon's buy box means customers aren't presented with "a fair range of choices".
She added: “Competition laws are there to protect everyone.
"They ensure that individuals can make genuine and informed choices, and are not simply led into making selections which benefit the companies they interact with.
"Fairness is at the heart of competition law and consumers are not being treated fairly by Amazon.”
If ten million people could prove they have shopped at Amazon in the past six years, each could be eligible for £67 compensation, according to The Times.
The Sun has approached Amazon for comment and we will update this article once we hear back.
Who could get compensation?
Lawsuits that result in compensation for many people are often referred to as "class action".
You don't need to do anything as you'll automatically be part of it if you're affected.
Anyone who lives in the UK, and made purchases on Amazon or the Amazon app since October 2016, could be eligible for a payout if the claim is successful.
But there's a long way to go before anyone could see any payout, as these types of cases can take years in the courts.
In England and Wales a Group Litigation Order (GLO) is often used for this kind of lawsuit,
Collective action has been made easier under the UK’s Consumer Rights Act 2015.
It means the courts can treat similar claims as one, rather than having hundreds or even thousands of separate individual claims.
There are a number of stages to bringing this kind of lawsuit, including the courts needing to give permission for a GLO.
Both sides can also appeal decisions at various stages making it a lengthy process with no guarantee of a payout.
Collective actions are rare – there have only been around 100 cases since 2000 according to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
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In May, A £600 million class action claim against BT is alleged that elderly and low-income customers were overcharged by the firm.
And in 2021, Mastercard faced the first case of its kind in the UK.
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