France recently made it illegal for online retailers like Amazon to offer free shipping and major book discounts, in a bid to protect the brick-and-mortar retailers from losing business to the convenience of the internet. What was Amazon's response to this? Well since they can't offer free shipping, they did the next best thing and decided to charge 0.01€. For reference that's £0.007.
While banning discounts over five per cent could well help the French equivalent of the High Street, I can't imagine banning free shipping will do a damn thing. Of course they're going to keep shipping costs low, and barring a law that sets a minimum shipping price (which would be ludicrous) they're going to keep the costs as low as possible.
Sounds like another case of politicians who don't actually understand how things work. [Engadget]