The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is examining concerns with online retail marketplaces such as eBay Australia, Amazon Australia, Kogan and, as part of its inquiry into digital platform services.

Of particular concern, is the relationship these marketplaces have with third-party sellers and consumers, as well as how they affect competition in the Australian market.

The ACCC is requesting submissions from consumers, platforms, and third-party sellers to inform its inquiry. Consumers and small business sellers are also invited to share their experiences with marketplaces via short online surveys.

ACCC chair, Rod Sims said these online marketplaces are an important and growing segment of the economy, so it is important to understand how they operate and whether they are working effectively.

“We want to be sure that the rules that apply to traditional retail are also complied with in the online context. We are keen to hear about the experiences of Australians, both consumers and businesses” he said.

Under consideration will be pricing practices, the use of data, the terms and conditions imposed on third-party sellers, and the impacts on competition.

Key consumer issues to be addressed include the ability of customers to leave and read reviews of sellers and products, how complaints are handled and how consumer data is collected and used.

“Online marketplaces offer many benefits to consumers who can shop around for a variety of products in one place, and for sellers which may be able to contract out services such as warehousing, packing, and shipping to the marketplaces,” Sims added.

“But we would expect the marketplace to operate fairly for businesses and consumers alike and comply with consumer laws and competition laws.”