The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon today, with 17 states joining the federal agency. The case isn’t a surprise (the FTC was reported to be nearly ready to file in late August), but its specifics weren’t yet known.
The FTC accuses the online retailer of monopolistic practices, including preventing merchants from offering lower prices on other platforms and forcing them to use Amazon’s logistics service if they wanted to be listed as part of Prime shipping perks for customers. Those anticompetitive practices allegedly led to higher prices and an inferior shopping experience. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Amazon to account for these monopolistic practices and restore the lost promise of free and fair competition,” said FTC chair Lina Khan, according to The New York Times.
The FTC has had its eye on Amazon for several years. This is the fourth action the agency has taken against the company this year. Amazon settled a previous lawsuit (for $30.8 million) filed in May over Alexa children’s privacy concerns and snooping with Ring cameras. In June, the FTC sued the retailer again, claiming the company tricked customers into signing up for Prime subscriptions and then made it hard to cancel them.
Amazon claimed in a statement that the FTC’s actions were out of line. “Today’s suit makes clear the FTC’s focus has radically departed from its mission of protecting consumers and competition,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon Senior Vice President of Global Public Policy and General Counsel. “The lawsuit filed by the FTC today is wrong on the facts and the law, and we look forward to making that case in court.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.