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Lords to quiz Amazon, Airbnb and Uber on internet competition

Next week, on Monday 7 December, a Lords Committee investigating online platforms will take evidence from Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and others.

The two evidence sessions will cover first the growing presence of sharing, or collaborative, economies, such as Uber and Airbnb, and then secondly the role of Amazon as an online giant.

Issues such as the regulation of the collaborative economy, how traditional sellers can compete with online ones, and the balance of power between platforms and suppliers will be investigated.

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee is holding an inquiry into online platforms, their growing influence and the current European Commission consultation. 

The first session at 4.25pm will be on collaborative economy platforms, which, in ten years' time, will be estimated to generate global revenues of around 300bn euros (see Background Information).  The witnesses for this session will be Patrick Robinson, Head of Public Policy Europe and Canada, Airbnb; Mark McGann, Head of Public Policy EMEA, Uber; and Helen Goulden, Executive Director, Innovation Lab, Nesta. 

Questions which the Committee is likely to put to the witnesses include:

  • Why are collaborative economy platforms growing so quickly?
  • What are their implications for employment law and health and safety regulation?
  • How does consumer protection law apply?
  • Do these platforms use ratings and reviews as a substitute for consumer protection?
  • Who is regulating them? Is it the EU, the Member State or even the local authority?

There then follows a separate session, at 5.25pm, where the Committee will meet with Paul Misener, Global Vice-President of Public Policy, Amazon. 

Questions which the Committee is likely to put to him include:

  • How do you see the use of Amazon's power over traditional publishers for example?
  • Is there an imbalance of power between Amazon and suppliers?
  • Do you think regulation should target immediate consumer concerns or long-term ones?

The evidence session will take place from 4.25pm on Monday 7 December in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

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