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California sues Amazon for preventing third-party sellers offering cheaper prices elsewhere

Amazon still can’t avoid lawsuits over third-party prices. THE BRAND NEW York Times reports California has filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing Amazon of violating both Cartwright Act and state competition law through its pricing rules. The web giant is stifling competition by preventing sellers from offering lower prices on other sites, in accordance with Attorney General Rob Bonta. Should they defy Amazon, they risk losing buy buttons, prominent listings as well as basic usage of Amazon’s marketplace.

If successful, the lawsuit would bar any contracts deemed anti-competitive and notify sellers that they are absolve to reduce prices elsewhere. Amazon would also need to pay damages, return “ill-gotten gains” and appoint a court-approved overseer.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said California had the problem “exactly backwards.” Third-parties still have control over prices, Amazon claimed, and inclusion in the “Buy Box” space supposedly demonstrates a deal is actually competitive. It further contended that the suit would raise prices. It is possible to browse the full statement below.

The case is comparable to an area of Columbia lawsuit. The region’s Superior Court dismissed that case in March citing too little evidence, but Attorney General Karl Racine is appealing your choice.

Amazon is facing increasing government scrutiny of its practices. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating issues which range from major acquisitions to withheld driver tips, while EU pressure prompted Amazon to revise its seller program and improve third parties’ likelihood of competing with direct selling. The tech firm has balked at these moves, and went as far as to both demand the FTC chair’s recusal along with fight agency requests to interview executives. Don’t expect either side to back off anytime soon, put simply.

“Like the D.C. Attorney Generalwhose complaint was dismissed by the courtsthe California Attorney General has it exactly backwards. Sellers set their very own prices for the merchandise they offer inside our store. Amazon takes pride in the truth that you can expect low prices over the broadest selection, and like any store we reserve the proper never to highlight offers to customers that aren’t priced competitively. The relief the AG seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law. Hopefully that the California court will reach exactly the same conclusion because the D.C. court and dismiss this lawsuit promptly.”

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