Would news even be news lately if Amazon being sued weren’t in the mix? It feels like this has been happening a lot.
In fact, it has been. Amazon has been sued left and right, even over the past few months. Class-action lawsuits have been filed against the company for numerous reasons. This time, the entire state of California is going in on them.
Several reports have been released detailing the lawsuit. According to California, Amazon has been coercing merchants who use the platform for years. This state of affairs has been known for a long time, but they are now deciding to go all in on the popular shopping platform.
According to a press release by the state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, California has sued Amazon for antitrust violations. The specific focus of the lawsuit is on Amazon’s long-standing practices of “prohibiting price competition.” (Vice)
In a statement released by Bonta, he claims that the reality of this issue is that many of the products we purchase online would be cheaper if market forces were left “unconstrained.” He continued to state that with the lawsuit presented by the state of California, they will be fighting back. Additionally, he exclaimed that the state won’t allow Amazon to warp the market to its will at the expense of California’s consumers, business owners, and a competitive economy.
Again, this lawsuit is centered around an issue that has been publicized for many years. The issue claimed by California is that Amazon has been coercing merchants into entering agreements that either prohibit or, in return, punish them from offering their products at lower prices (through their own website or other merchants.) This can be incredibly harmful to sellers, might we add.
California’s press release states that sellers who don’t comply face sanctions, being suspended, or even being terminated from the platform. Due to Amazon completely dominating the marketplace, some sellers wouldn’t be able to survive if not for their ability to sell on the platform.
An Amazon spokesperson told Motherboard that the California Attorney General has it backward. Sellers put up their OWN prices for products they offer. The spokesperson also stated that Amazon takes pride in the fact that they offer the lowest prices with the broadest selection. Amazon is hoping that the California Court dismisses the lawsuit promptly.