Amazon faces a major legal challenge as the FTC unveils its 172-page lawsuit, alleging the e-commerce giant of employing anti-competitive practices and exploiting merchants on its platform.
Breitbart News reported this week that the FTC and 17 states have filed a lawsuit against e-commerce giant Amazon, alleging the company engages in illegal conduct and monopolistic practices within its online store and merchant services. Now, Breitbart has gone through the lawsuit complaint to highlight five of the most important claims against Jeff Bezos’ big tech powerhouse.
1. Amazon allegedly had a price surveillance team snooping on sellers to control their prices on other platforms:
According to the complaint, “Amazon understands the importance of maintaining the perception among shoppers that it has the lowest prices. But in reality, Amazon relentlessly stifles actual price competition by punishing sellers who offer lower prices anywhere other than Amazon and disciplining rivals that undercut Amazon’s prices.”
2. Executives allegedly planned to eliminate programs that offered shipping alternatives to sellers:
The FTC complaint claims, “Amazon’s fear of a world in which unrestricted seller choice leads to increased competition is grounded in experience. For a period of time, Amazon temporarily allowed sellers to use their own fulfillment solution for Prime-eligible orders. When Amazon realized it had lowered a barrier to competition, it quickly reversed course.”
3. After demolishing the competition, Amazon punished sellers with extreme fees:
The lawsuit joined by 17 states claims, “Amazon has hiked so steeply the fees it charges sellers that it now reportedly takes close to half of every dollar from the typical seller that uses Amazon’s fulfillment service. Amazon recognizes that sellers find ‘that it has become more difficult over time to be profitable on Amazon’ … But as one seller explains, ‘we have nowhere else to go and Amazon knows it.’”
4. Amazon allegedly made it difficult for sellers to grow without buying ads in a program widely considered to be pay-to-play:
The lawsuit states, “Most sellers must now pay for advertising to reach Amazon’s massive base of online shoppers, while shoppers consequently face less relevant search results and are steered toward more expensive products … In a competitive world, Amazon’s decision to raise prices and degrade services would create an opening for rivals and potential rivals to attract business, gain momentum, and grow. But Amazon has engaged in an unlawful monopolistic strategy to close off that possibility.”
5. Amazon allegedly attempted to obstruct the FTC’s investigation:
The complaint accuses the internet giant of obstructing the FTC’s investigation by using encrypted chat programs among other techniques: “Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit despite Amazon’s extensive efforts to impede the government’s investigation and hide information about its internal operations.”
The legal confrontation between Amazon and the combination of the FTC and 17 states is likely to be as important than the current Google antitrust trial, if not even more so. Breitbart News will continue to report on both lawsuits closely.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.