VSAlifornia’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging the company restricted third-party sellers on its platforms by requiring them to sign agreements that would limit their ability to match market prices.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday that the state is suing Amazon for inflating its prices by signing restrictive agreements with companies it partners with on its platforms. These practices helped Amazon establish itself as a dominant seller in the marketplace and violate state unfair competition law and the antitrust-focused Cartwright Act, he alleged.
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“Amazon coerces merchants into deals that keep prices artificially high, knowing full well that they have no real alternative,” Bonta said in a statement. Tweeter. “We will not let Amazon bend the market to its will to the detriment of consumers and the economy.”
Bonta told a press conference that an investigation by his office found that sellers on Amazon’s platform were not allowed to lower their prices because of agreements they had signed with Amazon. to access the platform. This limitation of price controls often meant that California consumers were overcharged.
Bonta requested that the Superior Court of San Francisco declare California’s actions illegal, that it compel Amazon to inform sellers that it does not require sellers to offer prices equivalent to non-Amazon prices, which it names a monitor to ensure corporate compliance, and that it requires Amazon to compensate the state and affected sellers accordingly.
Amazon responded by arguing that the lawsuit in question would hurt consumers, not help them. “Amazon prides itself on offering low prices on the widest selection,” a company spokesperson said. Washington Examiner. “And like any store, we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not price competitive. The California court will come to the same conclusion as the DC court and quickly dismiss this lawsuit. »
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The lawsuit is the latest legal slam against Amazon amid growing scrutiny from regulators in the United States and Europe over the platform’s dominating presence in everyday life. Big Tech’s dealings have come under Federal Trade Commission scrutiny to the point that Amazon accuses the FTC of ‘harassing’ company executives in its investigation of Amazon Prime.