Today, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon. The suit focuses on Amazon’s anticompetitive behavior, in particular its policy preventing third-party sellers from listing their goods on competing platforms for a lower price. Sellers who list the same product at a lower price on a competing platform could risk being dropped from the Amazon marketplace — a death knell for sellers, as Amazon remains one of the largest online marketplaces in the world. This policy, coupled with Amazon’s high seller fees, raises prices for consumers and restricts online retail competition.
The suit follows three years of Public Knowledge advocacy on the competition challenges posed by dominant digital platforms like Amazon, including its misuse of seller data to prop up its own products.
The following can be attributed to Alex Petros, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Consumers are paying more than they should for what they buy online as a direct result of Amazon’s conduct. Amazon has built a competitive moat through network effects and artificially high switching costs through its Prime program. Third-party sellers should be allowed to contract freely with platforms that offer them the best deal to reach customers — not limited by Amazon’s self-enriching terms.
“Amazon’s anticompetitive conduct appears to have raised prices on alternative e-commerce marketplaces and protected Amazon’s platform power. Amazon is increasing consumers’ prices and diminishing their choice of platform while robbing the online retail market of innovation and competitive entry. AG Racine’s suit marks an encouraging step forward in enforcers holding Amazon accountable.”
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