Seattle judge rules Amazon antitrust lawsuit to move forward
Mar 28, 2023, 12:20 PM | Updated: 12:20 pm
(Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
A lawsuit is moving forward against Amazon, claiming that the company artificially drives up prices sold by competing retailers on their site, which is a violation of United States antitrust laws.
The ruling, obtained by Reuters, came from Seattle-based U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, who ruled against Amazon’s motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying that the company’s “Fair Pricing Policy” is anti-competitive.
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The lawsuit was originally filed by a series of retail affiliates selling their products on Amazon in 2020, challenging the “Fair Pricing Policy.”
The company’s “Fair Pricing Policy” essentially says that retailers cannot offer prices lower than the price offered on Amazon, even if they are avoiding extra fees and costs imposed by Amazon. The policy prohibits sellers from “setting a price on a product or service that is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon,” which the company argues is done to prevent price gouging.
The plaintiffs argued instead that Amazon was using the monopoly that it had placed on the online retail market to maintain its position in the marketplace, even when this is against the best interest of the consumer.
“The Court finds that the allegations of the SAC in regards to the overall effects of Amazon’s conduct in the market are sustainable on their face,” the ruling read.
The class action lawsuit against Amazon argues that the company has cost consumers estimated damages of between $55 billion to $172 billion.
Amazon denies the claims.
The lawsuit will move forward, with the next hearing expected for April 13.