Amazon shares closed lower in the US Friday, ahead of reports that staff at the retail behemoth are accepting bribes in return for data, information or other actions they request to improve their competitiveness.
Amazon said it investigating those reports and that it has ‘zero tolerance’ for any abuse of its systems.
Amazon shared ended the US Friday trading session 0.99% lower at $1,970.19. The stock is currently also in the red in out-of-hours activity.
Amazon staff ‘accept bribes’
The Wall Street Journal reported that after a tip off, it had discovered it was possible for third-party sellers on the Amazon site, to gain services from some Amazon staff, in return for a payment.
Things the Amazon staff are willing to do include:
- Delete negative reviews.
- Re-instate banned seller accounts.
- Share sales data.
- Hand over detailed search data.
These practices would help give third-party sellers a competitive edge over, not just other third-party sellers on the site, but also Amazon itself, who sells its own products across the globe.
The WSJ report went on to state that this practise was particularly prominent in China, where third parties would contact Amazon employees over WeChat, to discuss what was possible and required.
Following the report, Amazon said that it has ‘zero tolerance’ for such abuses and that it was conducting a ‘thorough’ investigation into the allegations.
“We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties,” Amazon said in a statement.
“In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action,” the tech giant added.