Sellers asked FAS to check marketplaces for imposing conditions
Oleksiy Kozhevnikov, General Director of ANO “Digitalization and New Technologies” (CNT), member of the public council at FAS, asked FAS chairman Maxim Shaskolskyi to check the “price index” on marketplaces for violations of antimonopoly legislation. He sent the letter after several appeals from sellers. “Ъ” writes about it.
Most marketplaces assign products a “price index” relative to the cost on their site and the prices of competitors. If the prices are different, the product is given an increased or decreased “price index”, which is taken into account when ranking in search and participating in loyalty programs. The sale of goods on a competitive platform for less can lead to a decrease in search results and exclusion from the loyalty program, the letter says.
The “price index” mechanism imposes “unfavorable sales management conditions” on sellers, because it “forces them to level the prices to the maximum, based on the most expensive tariffs,” according to CNT.
Kozhevnikov asked the FAS to check the practice for signs of collective abuse of a dominant position due to the imposition of contract terms and pressure on sellers regarding price policy.
FAS stated that they will consider the letter and include issues from it in the agenda of the regular meeting of the expert council on the development of competition in the IT industry.
As one seller explained, the largest marketplaces began to actively implement a “price index” in 2023 to guarantee a better offer to consumers and increase sales. According to him, the index is displayed in the sellers’ personal account, but the calculation of the indicator is not transparent for them. The tool also limits sellers from setting more favorable prices on their own site, the interlocutor added.
Ozon has confirmed that products with favorable prices rise a little higher in the search. In “Yandex Market”, the “price index” does not affect the place in the search, the place depends on the price of the product by 18%, on the description – by 27.5%, on the preferences of users – by 25.5%. Wildberries also insist that the “price index” is only one factor in the ranking. Loyalty programs do not depend on the indicator, Ozon and Wildberries claim.
In 2022, the government banned regulators from conducting inspections of accredited IT companies until the end of 2024. They also include the marketplace.