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Ebay takes brand fight to the European Union

Ebay has taken a petition signed by 750,000 of its users to the European Union to ask it to amend EU competition law to stop brands from restricting the sale of their products on the internet.

The petition, which was launched in July, calls for the EU to halt what it describes as the “abuse” of “selective distribution” agreements which block online sales of certain products..

Ebay argues that the practice unfairly impacts online businesses and entrepreneurs and means the consumer ends up paying more.

It has called for greater clarity and support for cross-border internet sales in Europe and wants the way offline and online channels are treated for distribution to be the same.

Many brands oppose selling their products online, particularly via Ebay, because they feel they lose control of how their products are sold and presented.

There has also been several high profile court battles with brands such as Tiffany’s and luxury group LVMH over counterfeit goods which have found their way onto the site.

Ebay director general Alex von Schirmeister said: “Ebay was built on a simple idea - that it could empower individuals by building a global marketplace where practically anyone could buy or sell practically anything.”

“Unfortunately, that idea is under threat from certain brand owners and manufacturers who are trying to block and restrict unfairly the sale of legitimate products on the internet. Through this online petition our community of users is calling on policymakers to amend European competition law to stop these unfair trade practices. “

The petition was lodged to coincide with revision of the Commission’s public consultation on its European Vertical Restraints Regulation and Guidelines which ends on September 28.

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