DC broadens antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

DC broadens antitrust lawsuit against Amazon
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District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (D) on Monday expanded the antitrust lawsuit he filed against Amazon in May, accusing the e-commerce giant of locking first-party sellers into anti-competitive agreements.

The amended complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court alleges that Amazon has required wholesalers to guarantee the company will make a minimum profit when buying and reselling goods.

“Amazon has continued to use its dominant position as an online marketplace to rig the system, leading to higher prices for consumers and less competition among online marketplaces,” Racine said. 

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The initial lawsuit filed by Racine in May had focused on Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers.

The complaint alleges that Amazon imposes excessive fees and does not let those sellers offer their products elsewhere at lower costs, ultimately resulting in higher prices and less choice for consumers.

The amended complaint adds alleged anticompetitive treatment of wholesalers, who sell products to Amazon.

Under the company’s Minimum Margin Agreement, Racine’s office alleges, Amazon essentially forces first-party sellers to compensate for the difference if the e-commerce platform lowers prices to compete with other marketplaces.

Those agreements lead wholesalers to artificially raise their prices on online marketplaces and make it difficult for those other platforms to compete with Amazon.

The Hill has reached out to Amazon for comment on the amended complaint.