Auction giant eBay UK has asked its UK members to petition the EU over what it has described as 'bully boy' tactics from big companies blocking the internet sale of their goods.

A survey found nearly half of small British retailers have been told by suppliers that they cannot sell certain goods online and 45 per cent had been told to fix the price at a certain level.

This has prompted eBay, which obviously has a vested interest, to call for action to prevent people offering online bargains.

Threatening behaviour

"Brands must not be able to get away with this kind of threatening behaviour, and we are calling on shoppers and retailers right across Europe to speak out against it," said eBay UK Managing Director Mark Lewis.

"By blocking online sales, these manufacturers are denying consumers access to the widest possible selection of goods at the lowest possible prices.

"Consumers already value the convenience of the internet. And with the recession biting, consumers deserve a fair deal."