The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorney generals filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging that the company has used its power in the marketplace to inflate prices on other platforms, overcharge sellers and stifle competition. The FTC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, backed by the attorneys general of 17 states; Amazon is based in Washington state.
According to a news release, the FTC and states that joined the lawsuit are asking the court to issue a permanent injunction court that they say would prohibit Amazon from engaging in its unlawful conduct. FTC chairman Lina Khan said in a statement: “Sellers are paying one of every $2 to Amazon. Shoppers are paying higher prices as a result, not just on Amazon but across the internet. And the public as a whole has been deprived of the benefits of open and fair and free competition. And so that’s what this case is really about, and those are the harms that we’re looking to fix .. The complaint sets forth detailed allegations noting how Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them.”
The FTC alleges that Amazon deters sellers from discounting goods and lowering prices below what is available on Amazon, pushing prices higher across the internet. Kahn also stressed that it showed Amazon had established an unfair advantage: “Each element of Amazon’s monopolistic strategy here is working in tandem, and so the cumulative impact of Amazon’s unlawful conduct is greater than the harm caused by any particular element. So you have a feedback loop between these different practices in a way that amplifies the overall exclusionary effects.”
David Zapolsky, Amazon’s senior vice president for global public policy, posted to Amazon’s website: “The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry, and have produced greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon’s store.”
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