Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon for anticompetitive practices and price-fixing.
Amazon has increasingly been under fire on all fronts. The company has repeatedly been criticized for how it treats employees, as well as its attempts to combat unionization efforts.
Now the company is under fire for alleged anticompetitive behavior, including wide-scale price-fixing. At the heart of the case is the company’s “most favored nation” (MFN) agreements, which prohibit retailers from offering their products elsewhere at cheaper prices, or with better terms, than they do on Amazon. The MFN agreements even prohibit retailers from offering their products cheaper on their own websites.
“Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs. It maximizes its profits at the expense of third-party sellers and consumers while harming competition, stifling innovation, and illegally tilting the playing field in its favor,” said AG Racine. “We filed this antitrust lawsuit to put an end to Amazon’s illegal control of prices across the online retail market. We need a fair online marketplace that expands options available to District residents and promotes competition, innovation, and choice.”
According to the AG, Amazon claimed to have removed its price parity policy in 2019. In actuality, the company is accused of quickly and quietly replacing it with a replacement policy that accomplished the same thing. Under the new policy, the Fair Pricing Policy, “third-party sellers can be sanctioned or removed from Amazon altogether if they offer their products for lower prices or under better terms on a competing online platform.”