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Infractions: Amazon pays $134,523 for liability over multiple US sanctions

*Online retailer failed to timely report several hundred transactions conducted pursuant to a general licence by OFAC ─US Treasury Department

*Amazon to require third-party sellers to publicly disclose names, addresses to protect consumers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For selling sold goods and services to individuals blacklisted by the United States (US) Treasury Department, e-commerce giant Amazon has agreed to pay $134,523 for settlement of its potential civil liability over alleged ‘multiple’ violations of the country’s sanctions.

The US Treasury Department in recent statement said that the charges apply specifically to items and services sent to people located in Crimea, Iran, and Syria between November 2011 and October 2018, reports ConsumerAffairs.

It was learnt that the affected countries and regions are covered by Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions.

The Treasury Department in the statement said: “As a result of deficiencies related to Amazon’s sanctions screening processes, Amazon provided goods and services to persons sanctioned by OFAC; to persons located in the sanctioned region or countries of Crimea, Iran, and Syria; and to individuals located in or employed by the foreign missions of countries sanctioned by OFAC.”

The Department stated that “several hundred” Amazon transactions weren’t disclosed in a timely manner.

“Amazon also failed to timely report several hundred transactions conducted pursuant to a general license issued by OFAC that included a mandatory reporting requirement, thereby nullifying that authorisation with respect to those transactions.

“The settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that Amazon’s apparent violations were non-egregious and voluntarily self-disclosed, and further reflects the significant remedial measures implemented by Amazon upon discovery of the apparent violations,” stated the Treasury Department.

However, US Treasury Department noted that it doesn’t believe Amazon deliberately engaged in unlawful activity.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said Amazon’s system “failed to fully analyse all transaction and customer data relevant to compliance.”

Meanwhile, the company plans to require third-party sellers to publicly disclose names and addresses

Amazon has disclosed that third-party sellers in the US that they will soon have to display their business names and addresses on their public seller profiles for the benefit of consumers.

The new change, according to the e-commerce giant, is intended to give consumers more insight into who they’re buying from.

Sellers are already required to disclose this information to Amazon, but the policy change, expected to take effect September 1, 2020, will make it so that the information is available for everyone to see, report said.

“We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions,” Amazon said in a recent notice to sellers.

In view of the new policy, the company is aiming to provide greater transparency to US consumers and crack down on issues such as counterfeit items and unsafe or expired products.

Listing seller information will make it easier for customers to get in contact with the seller or take legal action in the event that they purchased an item that caused harm.

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