Reasons to boycott Amazon

It’s Amazon Prime again this week and it’s reminded me to write about why I don’t support Amazon despite their keen prices and quick delivery.

Tax avoidance

Ethical Consumer magazine have worked out that Amazon may have avoided paying half a billion pounds in tax in 2021. This money should have gone towards the public services we desperately need, not space rockets for billionaires.

Ethical Consumer has calculated that, in 2021, up to half a billion pounds (£500,000,000) could have been lost to the UK public purse from the corporation tax avoidance Amazon alone. This amount could have paid for:

  • a £500 payment to the poorest one million UK households to help with rising fuel bills, or
  • raising the much criticised ‘up to’ 3% proposed pay rises for health service staff in 2022 by an additional 1%, or
  • a £10,000 investment in insulating the homes of 50,000 pensioners in the worst fuel poverty, which could also reduce UK CO2 emissions by around 100,000 tonnes

https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/boycott-amazon

Worker’s Rights

Whether it’s tracking every minute of work time, union busting or setting ridiculous delivery targets that have drivers going to the toilet in bottles, Amazon exploit their workers.

From the factories where the products it sells are made, to the doorsteps where they are delivered, Amazon’s global infrastructure is held together by the exploitation of those who operate it.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/26/amazon-workers-are-rising-up-around-the-world-to-say-enough

Marketplace & review manipulation

From electronics to food, from nappies to camera tripods, Amazon have control of the marketplace.  One company alleged that Amazon copied their best selling products to sell under their own brand, then banned them from the marketplace.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-competition-shopify-wayfair-allbirds-antitrust-11608235127

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2020/12/24/amazon-tripod-company-banned/

Outright fake reviews as well as hassle from sellers to review them well means we can’t really trust the review system. It benefits both sellers and Amazon so they’ve been slow to crack down on review manipulation.

As Amazon became more and more popular and Amazon opened its website to third party sellers and created a Marketplace, reviews became something that could be manipulated. And so as there was more money at stake, sellers realized that reviews could be as good of an investment as marketing or advertising the product.

https://www.wsj.com/podcasts/the-journal/what-behind-amazons-review-problem/c80ad14d-e7a2-4705-a5df-b4dfab5e8961

Support Small Business Instead

With a handful of companies consolidating their positions over Covid and exploiting it to make billions in profit, I want to support small and local business. Buying from independent businesses puts money back into the local economy and helps small business owners pay their bills. We don’t need more corporations exploiting us and funneling money to investors or into offshore accounts. I can get most things from the city anyway so I don’t need to pay for postage and add to traffic.

Summary

Yes the prices are good (because they don’t pay their tax) and the delivery is quick (because they exploit their staff) but I choose not to use Amazon. I value small business and companies paying the tax they owe to contribute to society, so am happy to pay the going rate and wait an extra day for that purchase.