- When will countries like France figure out that price controls are bad for the economy and totally unfair to the consumer? Probably not for a long time, if the ludicrous assaults on Amazon.com and eBay are any indication of the economic wisdom of those in charge there. European consumers suffer greatly from this kind of thinking, and that's a real shame.
Amazon.com may not offer free delivery on books in France, the high court in Versailles has ruled.This New York Times article has the rest of the details, including the case brought against eBay.
Retail prices, particularly of books, are tightly regulated in France.
Using "loss-leaders," or selling products below cost to attract customers, is illegal. Other restrictions apply to books retailers must not offer discounts of more than 5 percent on the publisher's recommended price. Many independent booksellers choose to offer this discount in the form of a loyalty bonus based on previous purchases. Larger booksellers simply slash the sticker price of books.
But the free delivery offered by Amazon exceeded the legal limit in the case of cheaper books, the union charged.
The union said it was pleased with the court's ruling, which would help protect vulnerable small bookshops from predatory pricing practices.