The Federal Trade Commission, (FTC) is the Federal Government’s regulation and oversight arm for US business. This suit is one of several filed against Amazon by FTC Chair Lina Khan who has also taken on monopolistic practices of Microsoft and Google.
According to NBC, “The allegations, which focus on the company’s primary marketplace, Amazon.com, paint a picture of a company able to use its size and power to pressure sellers to agree to its terms and warp the prices of goods.
“There is immediate harm that is ongoing here,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said at a news conference ahead of the lawsuit announcement. “Sellers are paying 1 of every $2 to Amazon. Shoppers are paying higher prices as a result, not just on Amazon but across the internet. And the public as a whole has been deprived of the benefits of open and fair and free competition. And so that’s what this case is really about, and those are the harms that we’re looking to fix.”
The FTC made the allegations in an antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, backed by the attorneys general of 17 states, including two Republicans. Amazon is based in Washington
NPR reports that the lawsuit focuses on Amazon’s fraught relationship with other sellers. The FTC says the company traps its sellers with high fees. Amazon can also squeeze out other sellers by selling its own products at a loss. This means buyers might not get the highest quality products. Amazon argues that if the government wins, the result could be higher prices, slower deliveries and fewer options for shoppers and businesses. NPR adds ” Amazon is among NPR’s financial supporters and pays to distribute some of our content.“
The states involved in the case are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.