"Amazon's promotion — paying consumers to visit small businesses and leave empty-handed — is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities," Snowe said in a statement. “Small businesses are fighting every day to compete with giant retailers, such as Amazon, and incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops is a bridge too far.”
Snowe, who is the ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, called for the online retail giant to cancel the program, which is slated to start on Saturday, Dec. 10.
“During the busiest shopping season of the year, we should remember that our local restaurants, bookshops, and hardware stores are the economic engines in our communities,” Snowe said. “I urge Amazon to cancel its planned promotion, and look for ways to partner with Main Street, not promote anti-competitive behavior that could shutter the doors of America's small businesses."
The Amazon Price Check app has angered small-business owners, and this week the American Retail Industry Leaders’ Association came out against it.
"Retailers compete on price 365 days a year, and at no time is that competition hotter than during the make-or-break holiday shopping season,” the association said in a statement. “However, by continuing to evade collecting state sales taxes, Amazon’s exploitation of a pre-Internet tax loophole is resulting in a 6-10 percent perceived price advantage over their competitors on Main Street.”
“Amazon’s aggressive promotion of its Price Check app shows the lengths they are willing to go to exploit this tax loophole, and is a stark reminder of why Congress needs to act to protect retailers on Main Street. A failure to act is an implicit endorsement of a subsidy of Amazon.”
Amazon has not responded to the criticism, but is expected to roll out similar apps around the world.