September 17, 2009 / 2:35 PM / in 9 years

Ebay petitions EU to stop blocks on Internet trade

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Three quarters of a million eBay Inc users have signed a petition urging European Union antitrust regulators to stop companies blocking online sales, the Internet auction house said on Thursday.

The European Commission, the EU competition watchdog, is now fine-tuning rules on distribution deals between manufacturers and retailers that will replace guidelines due to expire in May 2010.

Antitrust experts say the proposed rules clarify the existing framework for online retailers such as eBay and Amazon.com Inc, which are at loggerheads with brand owners seeking to protect their image and exclusivity.

Interested parties have until September 28 to comment on its proposals.

“Through this online petition our community of users is calling on policymakers to amend European competition law to stop these unfair trade practices,” Alex von Schirmeister, eBay’s director general, said in a statement.

Restrictive distribution systems practiced by some companies selling brand name products often result in consumers paying higher prices for goods, eBay said.

The majority of the 752,605 eBay users that signed the petition launched in July were from Britain, France and Germany. The petition is open until September 28.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Simon Jessop

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