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Germany – Amazon suffers bad image after temp scandal

15 April 2013

Online retailer Amazon is still suffering from the aftermath of a TV report which revealed poor working conditions of temporary agency staff at one the company’s German sites even though it has subsequently been alleged that the high-profile documentary failed to represent the truth, distorted facts and invented witnesses.

A new survey by YouGov showed that one in five customers have since changed their buying habits.

A TV documentary earlier this year showed how some Amazon seasonal workers, mainly from Eastern Europe and Spain, were harassed by security guards who, the programme alleged, were linked to right-wing extremist groups. The German labour minister went as far as threatening staffing firms with a cancellation of their operating licences.

The YouGov survey now found that 12% of former Amazon customers have stopped using services from the online retailer altogether. Around 7% are now trying to do their shopping locally and reduce their online shopping. The research, which questioned 1,000 people, also indicates that Amazon users are now increasingly using competitors such as Ebay. 8% of online buyers said they did not buy Easter presents from Amazon this year.

“The German online customers are strongly reacting to the Amazon debate. A fast recovery of its image is not to be expected. One has heard negative things about Amazon in the media, something which the customers will not forget quickly,” said Holger Geißler, from YouGov. “Many customers are really disappointed by Amazon.” 

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