Japan FTC to Look into Amazon Japan's Reward Point Program

Economy

Tokyo, Feb. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Fair Trade Commission plans to investigate Amazon Japan G.K.'s reward point program, as its plan to make the program cover all items is worrying sellers on its Marketplace platform, informed sources have said.

The unit of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. plans to oblige Marketplace sellers from May 23 to provide customers with reward points worth at least 1.0 pct of purchase amounts. Currently, each seller is allowed to decide a reward point policy on its own.

"A unilateral contract change forcing sellers (on the Marketplace platform) to pay excessive costs would be a serious problem," Japanese industry minister Hiroshige Seko told a press conference on Tuesday.

Amazon Japan's plan to expand its program comes amid intensifying industry competition to lure customers with reward point programs. "We aim to gain more sales opportunities," said a public relations official of the company.

However, as the existing Marketplace rules call for the costs of giving reward points to be borne by sellers, the planned expansion is viewed by some users as an effective hike in platform usage fees.

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Jiji Press