Last year, a French booksellers’ union took Amazon to court claiming its free shipping violated the 1981 Lang Law, which forbids booksellers from offering discounts of more than 5 percent off the list price. Apparently, Amazon was exceeding that discount when the free shipping was factored in, thus the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Versailles awarded the union €100,000 and ordered Amazon to start charging for shipping within ten days.
But the giant online retailer said that it would pay €1,000 a day in fines, rather than comply with the court ruling, while it appeals to keep its shipping free in France. The French legal system will only allow Amazon to pay the €1,000 fine for 30 days, at which point the court can extend the fine, lower it or raise it. But considering the law has twice come before the European Court of Justice and was upheld in both instances, Amazon’s appeal may stand little chance of success.