Anti-Competition: Attorney-General files antitrust suit against Amazon

*A complaint accuses the company of unlawfully stifling competition, suppressing innovation leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For allegedly abusing its market dominance and unlawfully stifling competition in the country, District of Columbia (DC) Attorney-General Karl Racine has filed an antitrust suit against Amazon in DC Superior Court in the United States.

Racine is accusing the e-commerce giant of limiting competition by placing restrictions on what third-party sellers can do outside of its marketplace, agency report stated.

In the complaint, the DC Attorney-General accused Amazon of abusing its market dominance and unlawfully stifling competition, leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

The complaint stated: “Amazon’s online retail sales platform benefits from, and is protected by, Amazon’s anticompetitive business practices.

“Far from enabling consumers to obtain the best products at the lowest prices, Amazon instead causes prices across the entire online retail sales market to be artificially inflated, both for products sold on Amazon’s online retail sales platform and on its competitors’ online retail sales platforms.”

Likewise accused to heralding less innovation, the suit purports that Amazon holds onto its market dominance by barring third-party sellers from offering products at lower prices on competing platforms.

Racine said in a press call, that the suit claims that these “most favoured nation” agreements have led to higher prices for consumers and less innovation in general.

He explained that “Amazon’s policies have prevented competing platforms, including sellers’ own websites, from competing on price and gaining market share.

“The loss of competition results in less innovation.”

According to the Attorney-General, the suit noted that there is a clause that prohibits independent sellers from “offering their products on a competing online retail sales platform, including the TPS’s own website, at a lower price or on better terms than the TPS offered the products on Amazon.”

Meanwhile, Racine has urged Amazon to stop engaging in this anticompetitive conduct by doing away with the strict rules that independent sellers must agree to.

The complaint added: “As a direct and proximate cause of Amazon’s exclusionary scheme, District residents have been injured because they have been denied a competitive marketplace for online retail sales and paid higher prices for products than they would have paid absent Amazon’s anticompetitive acts.

“District consumers are deprived of choosing from a full, competitive range of online retailers who may have offered lower prices.”

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