ROCC will pursue a level playing field by promoting the following key principles
Equal Access to PlatformMore
Fair Dispute ResolutionMore
Competitive Fees and CommissionsMore
Equal Access to DataMore
Ability to Communicate Freely with CustomersMore
Prevention of Fake and Counterfeit ProductsMore
No Tying of Products or ServicesMore
Freedom to Set Prices and Offer DiscountsMore
No Unfair Methods of CompetitionMore
Freedom from RetaliationMore
Pro-Competitive Global Trade PolicyMore
Equal Access to Platform: Every business should have access on reasonable, fair, and non-discriminatory terms to the major multi-brand e-commerce platforms. Furthermore, every business should be free from being coerced into any particular type of business relationship with a platform. For example, a brand should be able to freely choose between acting as a wholesaler or third-party seller (or both) on platforms that offer both options.
Fair Dispute Resolution: Platforms should not bully or punish business customers arbitrarily and without due process for conduct that may be perceived as a breach of the platforms’ explicit or de facto policies. Platforms should provide transparency and a clear, impartial, and timely method of resolving disputes.
Competitive Fees and Commissions: Business customers often have no choice but to accept the terms that a dominant e-commerce platform such as Amazon dictates. No business customer should be required to pay unfair, unreasonable, or discriminatory fees or revenue shares to a platform.
Equal Access to Data: When businesses lack useful data about how their business performs on a platform, including data related to their sales or advertising, this interferes with their ability to satisfy consumer preferences and compete effectively with other brands or sellers, including the platform. As such, business customers should have timely access to the same data and technical information about their activities on the platform as the platform owner.
Ability to Communicate Freely with Customers: In some cases, e-commerce platforms disintermediate businesses from their customers in a way that is not justified by the need to protect user data or security. Business customers should be permitted to communicate and conclude contracts directly with their consumers without interference from the platform, and should also be given the means to do so.
No Self-Preferencing: When platforms are vertically integrated and compete against their own customers in a downstream market, they should be prohibited from giving their own downstream offering an unfair advantage. For example, Amazon’s use of a business customer’s data to benefit Amazon’s own private label or retail business, when that business user is an actual or potential competitor, is an unfair commercial practice. Platforms should therefore verifiably firewall their business customers’ competitively sensitive data from the platform’s actual or competing business lines, including their product development and private-label teams. If this cannot be done successfully, a dominant e-commerce platform, such as Amazon, should be prohibited from operating as a seller on its own platform. Furthermore, platforms should not be allowed to give their own products an unfair advantage over competing business users’ products when it comes to product search, results listings, promotions, recommendations, or other aspects of the platform’s user interface.
Prevention of Fake and Counterfeit Products: Because the contravention of intellectual property rights stifles innovation, and harms both businesses and consumers, platforms should remove products that contravene brands’ intellectual property or otherwise mislead consumers in a timely manner. They should provide a clear and transparent process through which intellectual property owners can protect their rights. In this regard, businesses that are not currently present on the platform should be treated equally to those who are. In addition, a platform should not weaponize its ability to loosen or tighten the flow of counterfeits on its platform as a stick to punish business customers who do not bend to its will.
No Tying of Products or Services: In addition to the core platform service, business customers are often effectively required to purchase various other services from the platform, including services related to advertising and marketing, supply chain and logistics, printing, account management, and data analytics. This is the case although business customers often do not want to, and would not, buy these additional services absent the platform’s tying. Platforms should not tie services that could be offered independently, nor should they effectively force brands to purchase additional services from the platform with carrots (that do not result directly from verifiable cost savings) or sticks.
Freedom to Set Prices and Offer Discounts: Platforms should not prevent or disincentivize business customers from selling their products for a lower price or at a discount elsewhere. For example, Amazon’s most-favored nation (MFN) clauses currently restrict third-party sellers from offering lower prices for the same products sold through other channels – including the sellers’ own websites. In doing so, Amazon effectively sets the minimum price at which a seller can sell a product anywhere at a higher rate, as the price on Amazon includes the platform’s high commissions and other fees. The clauses, therefore, artificially increase the prices available through other channels. Dominant platforms like Amazon should not impose these or similar MFN clauses, whether as an explicit or de facto condition of selling on the platform.
No Unfair Methods of Competition: Dominant online platforms often engage in unfair methods of competition including, but also in addition to those identified in our other principles. Such conduct includes predatory pricing and monopoly leveraging. For example, Amazon’s abuse of its monopoly power in online commerce to gain leverage to force businesses to accept take-it-or-leave-it contract terms or gain leverage in adjacent or unrelated markets is an unfair commercial practice. Online commerce platforms should be stopped from engaging in unfair methods of competition to ensure a level playing field for all businesses that participate in online commerce.
Freedom from Retaliation: E-commerce platforms should not retaliate against any business customer that raises concerns with any law enforcement authority, law-making body, or policy-making body about actual or potential violations of the law, or any business customer that brings an action to enforce the law. Furthermore, platforms should not retaliate against any business customer for raising or expressing concerns on a public or non-public basis about unfair business conduct or practices, including any abuses of dominance or market power.
Pro-Competitive Global Trade Policy: International trade agreements should promote competition in digital markets rather than protect or expand the monopoly power of any dominant online platform. Consistent with this, international trade agreements should not include provisions that would undermine efforts by individual countries or groups of countries to put in place policies that would prevent dominant online platforms from abusing their monopoly power to the detriment of businesses that rely on the platform, as well as consumers and competitors.