In the United States, a Californian prosecutor accuses Amazon of distorting competition, forcing sellers to use its marketplace exclusively, and prohibiting them from offering their products cheaper on other platforms.
After the European Union, California. Amazon was already in the sights of European justice, for anti-competitive practices, via two ongoing investigations.
California attorney general files anti-trust lawsuit against Amazon
On September 14, 2022, Rob Bonta, the California Attorney General, filed an anti-trust appeal against the e-commerce giant in San Francisco Court. Amazon is accused of having “stifled competition” and provoked “a price increase” through “anti-competitive contractual practices”.
Most sellers using Amazon’s Marketplace could easily list their products on other sites and platforms at lower prices because the associated fees are lower there.
But the e-commerce giant prohibits them, under penalty of being imposed “drastic penalties like the loss of the ‘Buy Box'”, this shopping box that allows you to easily add an item to your basket. Its disappearance can drastically reduce product sales.
Amazon imposes prices “artificially bred”
Amazon also threatens recalcitrant sellers with even greater penalties, such as “a reduction in the product listing” even “termination or suspension” of their access to the marketplace.
However, Amazon remains (by far) the number 1 site for online sales, sellers prefer to remain referenced there, and therefore do not offer their products cheaper from competitors, such as “Walmart, Target, eBay and even their own websites”. In other words: Amazon forces sellers to align their prices with those charged by the e-commerce giant, including on their own website!
As a result, according to Rob Bonta, prices “artificially bred” to the detriment “California Consumers”, “small business owners” and “a fair and competitive economy”.