We Boycott Amazon

Last updated: Novemeber 2015


Support for the Amazon boycott


Thousands of people have joined our campaign against Amazon. We took our campaign to parliament and found an array of support from MPs passionate about tackling tax avoidance. 


 Our exclusive interview with Margaret Hodge MP. Recorded January 2015.




As chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee Margaret Hodge MP has been the star interrogator of companies that aggressively avoid paying tax.

She is one of 8 MPs who are supporting our Amazon boycott call. 

In an exclusive interview with Ethical Consumer, Margaret Hodge explains why she is supporting our campaign and why the issue of tax matters so much to her.



Why are you boycotting Amazon?

Amazon is one of the global companies that aggressively avoids paying tax on the profits that they earn from the business they undertake in the UK.

Not only is this morally wrong but it disadvantages every business from the local community-based bookshop to bigger, British-based companies like John Lewis and therefore endangers British businesses and British jobs.


Why would you urge people to join the Amazon Boycott this Christmas?

I haven't used Amazon for a year and I have found plenty of alternatives for buying goods online.

It's hugely important that we all take a stand and damage the reputation and business of companies that deliberately avoid paying their fare share of tax to the common purse for the common good.

I also think that it's hugely important that this is seen as not being anti-business, it's pro-fairness.

It's also not anti-competition it's making sure that everybody can compete fairly which right now British-based businesses that provide British jobs cannot.


What's your response to those people who say that boycotting huge companies like Amazon won't make any difference?

You have to take a stand. If there are enough of us who do it then we will damage their business. Their market share matters and their reputation matters. If we damage their market share we damage their business.


Why is the issue of tax so important to you?

Paying tax is part of the social compact. What makes us a society is that you agree to give according to your means or your profit.

When times are hard and people are struggling, for big corporations to feel that they can choose whether or not to pay their fair share of tax is just wrong. Companies should act more responsibly.


How did we get ourselves into this mess where companies like Amazon aren't paying their fair share of tax?

Partly because as business has become more global we haven't kept up and updated tax regulations. And partly because successive governments – including my own – believed that the way to attract business and jobs was to join the race to the bottom on tax. In other words we tried to out-compete other countries by offering lower rates of tax.

I think that they're wrong on that because companies need our market here in the UK.

We're far too timid and get scared off far too quickly with threats from businesses that they'll take their business elsewhere if the tax rules are changed.

What should we be doing about tax avoidance?

There are many things we can do: we need to toughen up HMRC; toughen up and simplify our own tax rules and working internationally to bring tax rules up to date.

We also need to use the power of public procurement to ensure that we don't reward with public contracts companies who deliberately avoid paying tax. 




MPs support call for shoppers to boycott Amazon 

MPs Natascha Engel, Meg Hillier, Margaret Hodge, John McDonnell, Michael Meacher, Austin Mitchell, Grahame Morris and Dennis Skinner are all backing a boycott of Amazon this Christmas. 

Margaret Hodge has been boycotting Amazon since the company's appearance before the House of commons public accounts select committee which she chairs, she said:

“It's hugely important that we all take a stand and damage the reputation and business of companies such as Amazon that deliberately avoid paying their fare share of tax to the common purse for the common good.”

“If enough people boycott Amazon then we will damage their business. Amazon's market share and reputation matters.”



“The internet is a freedom tool which we all like to use. But Amazon have diminished it through their dominance and tax avoidance. They have taken a good thing and made it ugly.”

Mark Constantine, Lush co-founder. 






Growing Support from the Public



Below some of those who have signed up tell us why they have decided to stop using the company



"Is shopping at Amazon really cheap? What if you included the Public Sector cuts to fill this void in our finances, largely attributable to corporate tax evasion?

Maybe, while you're on the bus reading your cheap Amazon book, travelling miles to a GP - or while you are waiting for the police to respond to your 999, you'll consider just how much that book actually cost you"

Rebecca Handley


"Apart from the very obvious tax evasion issue, it turns out that the conditions that their employees work under are Dickensian"

Judith Glover


"While most ordinary people are being financially strangled by this government austerity measures, Amazon and others like them are sucking even more millions out of the economy like some hideous pack of vampires."

Stephen Cavalier


"I am boycotting Amazon because the company aggressively avoids paying tax. i believe that Amazon's Corporate Social Responsibility Policy should include a commitment to paying a reasonable amount of tax in the countries in which they operate."

Stephen Tame


"Amazon are undercutting the high street with prices that nobody can match. This is not a fair playing field. The honest are punished and Amazon cant care less."

Alex miles


"Don't buy from Amazon! Buy local!

You may sometimes pay a fraction more at the point of sale, but you get that back from the taxes the local company pays, keeping our schools and hospitals and roads open. Amazon just leeches of the tax paid by others.

They use the services we provide, but don't pay their fair share to keep these services going."

Stuart Teadley


"I am boycotting Amazon because as I think they should pay proper UK taxes. I want to spend my money with ethical companies as far as possible and what they are doing is not ethical.

Boycotting Amazon has been surprisingly easy.

I am talking to my local bookseller, using my local library more and using second hand book suppliers.

If I drank Starbucks coffee I'd boycott them too. We have to get the message out loud and clear. It is about all businesses operating ethically."

S. Sheriff


"I would rather buy my books etc. from an independent bookseller rather than Amazon or a supermarket. Their sales tactics are gruesome and they don't pay their way.

It seems that just about every web search, no matter for what, results in Amazon at the top of the list. So, it is impossible to avoid Amazon but at least you don't have to buy from them.

Since boycotting, I have used Amazon to find firms from which to buy direct."

Carol Shone


"I'm boycotting Amazon and similar tax-avoiders because of the level of cuts in Social Welfare, Sure- Start, Education, and Health Funding in the UK is almost equal to the TAX AVOIDED by these irresponsible Trans-National conglomerates."

Revd Ian P. Hamilton


"I am boycotting Amazon because as a long-term customer, I was extremely dismayed to learn about their tax avoidance activities.

At first, I felt frustrated, particularly at this time when so many cuts are being made across the board - tax avoidance and evasion is a serious issue and costs the UK some 40 billion pounds a year.

When I came across Ethical Consumer's campaign, I didn't hesitate in canceling my account, letting Amazon know why, and encouraging family and friends to do likewise.

It's one thing to complain about these companies and continue using their services, another to stop using them altogether and putting your money behind the message."

Thomas Younger


"We are boycotting Amazon for 3 reasons:

1 Amazon are deliberately avoiding paying taxes to the UK and others

2 Amazon have a "No Unions" policy

3 (Because of the above) They are slowly but surely undercutting the competition, leaving

the High Streets empty - Woolworths, Jessops, Blockbuster, etc, etc."

Mike Buzzard


"I am boycotting Amazon because a) I always try to spend my money with people who share my beliefs and b) tax avoidance is morally repugnant."

Nicolas Deere


"Big companies should all pay their fair share of tax and 'legal' loop-holes should be closed. We can all help to 'persuade' them to do the right thing even if the government cannot be bothered, by hitting them where it hurts most - in their profits."

Mildred Willner



"I was a fan of Amazon, extremely good service and range of products, to the point that I was already concerned that they were taking too much of my trade from local businesses.

When I read that they were paying very little tax I started to realise that I had a role to play in ensuring fairness in business...

We are all concerned about the ecomony in this country and the slashing of public expenditure in areas that are truly worthy and to continue to support companies that refuse to take their place in society shows a lack of personal responsibility.  We all have our part to play."

Bridget Whell


"the main reason I am boycotting Amazon is that companies that do not pay their fair share of tax should not be benefitting from our custom.

Although their products may seem cheaper, in the long run it makes us all poorer.

Secondly, I have heard about their anti-union and anti-competitive practices, and I want to send a signal that this is unacceptable."




"As an accountant for many years I have witnessed that major corporations have been subdidised through the UK tax system by other taxpayers.

This competitive advantage means that local traders are undercut and go out of business, it also means that small companies cannot tender competitively for Government contracts.

This is a democracy and tax laws passed by a democracy should be adhered to for the common good.

Amazon is one of those tax haven domiciled companies whose allegiance is only to their greedy selves.

Its a pity that our elite politicians are firmly in their pockets. Just look at all the tax breaks given to The City - pensions & zero VAT to name but two."


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