The attorney general for the US capital city Washington sued Amazon on antitrust grounds, claiming the tech giant abuses its dominant position in online retail sales.
The lawsuit filed by the office of Attorney General Karl Racine on Tuesday alleges that Amazon’s control of 50% to 70% of US e-commerce sales results in higher consumer prices. It says that the company illegally maintained monopoly power by using contract provisions to prevent third-party sellers on its platform from offering their products for lower prices on other platforms.
“Amazon’s online retail sales platform benefits from, and is protected by, Amazon’s anticompetitive business practices,” said the suit filed in District of Columbia superior court. “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.”
Reacting to the suit, an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement: “The DC Attorney General has it exactly backwards — sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store. Amazon takes pride in the fact that we offer low prices across the broadest selection, and like any store we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively. The relief the AG seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law.”