amazon.com may not offer free delivery on books in France, the high court in Versailles has ruled.
The action, brought in January 2004 by the French Booksellers’ Union (Syndicat de la librairie française), accused Amazon of offering illegal discounts on books and even of selling some books below cost.
The court gave Amazon 10 days to start charging for the delivery of books, which should at least allow the company to maintain the offer through the end-of-year gift-giving season. After that, it must pay a fine of 1,000 (US$1,470) per day that it continues to offer free delivery. It must also pay 100,000 Euros in compensation to the booksellers’ union.
Retail prices, particularly of books, are tightly regulated in France.
Evidently, this kind of economic justice is par for the course. Free enterprise appears to be strangled on a regular basis in France. Here’s another dead body:
It’s not been a good month for U.S. e-commerce sites doing business in France: last week, the French auction regulator sued eBay France for breaching rules on the conduct of auctions. The regulator said that eBay’s failure to comply exposed consumers to the risk of fraud. In its defense, eBay France maintained that it is not an auctioneer and that it has “invented another way of buying and selling” not covered by the rules.
In France, “inventing another way” of doing anything is frowned upon…and fined out of existence.
Be sure to check out Joe Nouri’s new blog header for No Pasaran. Not that you’d be likely to miss it.