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'Boycott Amazon' campaign launched

The Ethical Consumer magazine and campaign group has launched a campaign to persuade customers to choose high street alternatives to Amazon for their Christmas shopping, following revelations of the company's tax avoidance.

Amazon's low payment of corporation tax on its sales in the UK in 2011 has received high-profile press attention. Ethical Consumer is calling on customers to boycott the company and find high street tax-paying alternatives.

Recommended department stores to shop at which pay a fair amount of tax are Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Next.

Ethical Consumer director Tim Hunt said: "We're launching the boycott of Amazon in response to the public's growing anger at the scale of Amazon'stax avoidance. By naming these tax-paying alternatives to Amazon we aim to mobilise consumer power to make Amazon pay a fair rate of tax. Shoppers maybenefit from Amazon's cheap shopping but these bargains come at the cost of reduced public services. Amazon's tax revenues could help fund the vital public services that are now being slashed."

Tax Justice campaigner Richard Murphy from Tax Research UK added: "Consumer action works. Starbucks is caving in. People denying their credit cards to Amazon is the sure way to make them pay their tax. The Wise Men celebrated the good news of the first Christmas with gifts they brought from afar. This year Wise People will  celebrate Christmas by not buying gifts from Amazon."

Mark Constantine, m.d. and co-founder of Lush Cosmetics, has also added his name to the campaign, accusing Amazon of being "ruthless" in taking advantage of weaknesses in its interpretation of tax law. "This creates a financial advantage that they may use to discount any product and outcompete retailers who are making a contribution to British society," he said.

According to figures published by the Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2011 Amazon's UK sales were £2.9bn but the company only paid £1.8m in corporation tax.

www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycottamazon

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I must say I don't understand why everyone is so up in arms about Amazon's tax position. As far as I know, Amazon's operation in this country is very limited - I believe it has a huge warehouse in Cardiff, but its sales are handled by a Web site that is certainly not based in the UK, deliveries are largely handled by Royal Mail which does pay tax (presumably) and its hardware products are made in the Far East by companies which (presumably) pay tax in the countries where they are based. This is a completely different position to Starbucks which actually runs coffee shops in this country where it employs British people and makes use of British public services, for which it should pay tax.

Matt in order for Amazon to function as a business and generate the billions of sales they do here, they require their UK operation. Without the team that work on the site, without the warehousing to get deliveries out they wouldn't be a viable business so they should pay an appropriate amount of tax. They employ over 15,000 people here so are clearly a big business with a proper UK arm. Just because the world is moving more digital and retail can be done online, doesn't mean that all business can have a small head office in Luxembourg and trade everywhere else to avoid tax. If they are truly not a UK business as they seem to claim, then they should shut the warehouse, stop advertising here and remove amazon.co.uk

I support any boycott which will make Amazon move to do the right thing. I have already unpublished my ebooks from there and closed my account with Amazon thanks to its characteristic lack of transparency, from not reporting sales to denying authors the right to earn their fair share of the pie. Clearly Amazon is withholding the reports so that they can earn interest on the royalties owed and thus finance production of the Kindles. A series of site outages and other "glitches" have plagued the retailer since August of 2011. Since their KDP Select lending program was put in place, thousands of ebooks were offered for free to Amazon's Prime members as an incentive to join the program on the backs of young and naive authors with stars in their eyes. Soon, authors trying to earn royalties from the licensing fees for their titles saw their sales plummet. If there was a better way for Amazon to discourage authors trying to earn a just recompense from their work from publishing to its chasm of a catalog, that was it. I cannot believe that of the "billions" of sales made on that retailing giant, there were not even 100 customers willing to lease the books. The day of the free ebook has arrived, but I'm not on the bandwagon. Thus, Amazon fails to live up to its mantra that it sells every book on the planet. To date I have seen 15 local book stores close thanks to the shopping app Amazon issued last year. When will it end?

I must say I don't understand why everyone is so up in arms about Amazon's tax position. As far as I know, Amazon's operation in this country is very limited - I believe it has a huge warehouse in Cardiff, but its sales are handled by a Web site that is certainly not based in the UK, deliveries are largely handled by Royal Mail which does pay tax (presumably) and its hardware products are made in the Far East by companies which (presumably) pay tax in the countries where they are based. This is a completely different position to Starbucks which actually runs coffee shops in this country where it employs British people and makes use of British public services, for which it should pay tax.

Matt in order for Amazon to function as a business and generate the billions of sales they do here, they require their UK operation. Without the team that work on the site, without the warehousing to get deliveries out they wouldn't be a viable business so they should pay an appropriate amount of tax. They employ over 15,000 people here so are clearly a big business with a proper UK arm. Just because the world is moving more digital and retail can be done online, doesn't mean that all business can have a small head office in Luxembourg and trade everywhere else to avoid tax. If they are truly not a UK business as they seem to claim, then they should shut the warehouse, stop advertising here and remove amazon.co.uk

I support any boycott which will make Amazon move to do the right thing. I have already unpublished my ebooks from there and closed my account with Amazon thanks to its characteristic lack of transparency, from not reporting sales to denying authors the right to earn their fair share of the pie. Clearly Amazon is withholding the reports so that they can earn interest on the royalties owed and thus finance production of the Kindles. A series of site outages and other "glitches" have plagued the retailer since August of 2011. Since their KDP Select lending program was put in place, thousands of ebooks were offered for free to Amazon's Prime members as an incentive to join the program on the backs of young and naive authors with stars in their eyes. Soon, authors trying to earn royalties from the licensing fees for their titles saw their sales plummet. If there was a better way for Amazon to discourage authors trying to earn a just recompense from their work from publishing to its chasm of a catalog, that was it. I cannot believe that of the "billions" of sales made on that retailing giant, there were not even 100 customers willing to lease the books. The day of the free ebook has arrived, but I'm not on the bandwagon. Thus, Amazon fails to live up to its mantra that it sells every book on the planet. To date I have seen 15 local book stores close thanks to the shopping app Amazon issued last year. When will it end?