The Court of Appeals of Versailles on Friday upheld and amended a lower court order limiting the types of goods Amazon can deliver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon has faced criticism for not to prioritizing shipments of essential items, and for failing to protect the health and safety of its employees.
After the lower court issued the order, Amazon closed its French warehouses citing the fines and calling it too ambiguous. Under the lower court order, Amazon faced a €1 million fine per non-essential item that it “received, prepared and/or shipped.” The Court of Appeals lowered the fine to €100,000 per item. In addition, the court expanded the list of essential items to include things like high tech and IT goods. The Court of Appeals has given Amazon 48 hours restrict its activity until a health and safety risk assessment has been carried out.
While the order has been welcomed by trade unions, the limitations have hurt many firms already struggling to survive ship items. Many vendors rely on Amazon to sell their products and have had to turn to more expensive methods such as the French postal service. In other cases, companies rely on Amazon to store their products, and are unable to access them since the warehouses have been shut down. Others still have opted to store merchandise in Amazon warehouses in Germany, which has quadrupled companies’ shipping costs in some cases.
It is unclear if Amazon will appeal to France’s high court or attempt to find a compromise with the unions.