September 13, 2021
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington, DC, has expanded its antitrust lawsuit against Amazon to challenge the online retailer’s deals with wholesalers and third-party sellers, city attorney general Karl Racine’s office said Monday.
The city sued Amazon in May claiming its requirements prevented third-party sellers from selling elsewhere for less than on Amazon. Amazon’s prices include commissions, which are up to 40% of the total price.
The new complaint includes allegations that Amazon has deals with wholesalers that guarantee it a minimal profit. Consequently, the complaint alleges that if Amazon lowers a price to compete with another online seller, the wholesaler must pay Amazon the difference between the price at which it sells and the agreed minimum. These payments are a disincentive for wholesalers to lower their prices to compete, the complaint says.
Amazon, which filed a motion on Friday to dismiss the lawsuit, said the Washington, DC lawsuit was wrong.
“Sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store,” reads a statement. “Amazon prides itself on the fact that we offer low prices across the widest selection and, like any store, we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers who are not competitively priced.”
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Howard Goller)
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