Snowe rips Amazon for ‘incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops’

{mosads}This week Amazon unveiled an app that will give customers a discount 
if they provide the company with prices on items at local businesses
 and then buy the same items from Amazon instead.

“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.


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