Amazon business practices reviewed in two U.S. states

Marco Green
June 16, 2020

Amazon used sensitive, confidential information about sellers on its marketplace, their products and transactions to develop its own competing products, according to a Wall Street Journal report in April.

The reports said California state is reviewing Amazon's practices on selling its own products in competition with third-party vendors.

In response to that report, United States Senator Josh Hawley asked for a criminal antitrust examination into the claims and the House Judiciary Committee gotten in touch with Jeff Bezos to testify before Congress.

Amazon declined to comment on the report of an investigation by California.

According to internal correspondence viewed by the Times, the Washington attorney general's office is in the preliminary stages of planning a probe that would examine whether Amazon makes it more hard for sellers to list their products elsewhere online.

The company has said in the past that it follows all laws, while empasising that it only accounts for about 4 percent of total the United States retail market.

Amazon's antitrust headaches don't appear to be going away.

Amazon faces increased competition scrutiny even as the pandemic sends its retail business skyrocketing.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both reported that state officials in California and Washington are focusing partly on how Amazon treats independent sellers on its platform.

Last year, the European Union started an antitrust investigation into Amazon's business practices that also focused on the use of internal sales data. The EU's probe followed several other independent investigations by EU member countries in Amazon's business practices. The Washington investigation is also interested in finding out if Amazon makes it harder for sellers to peddle their products on other platforms. Over the years, the company has added more and more private label brands to its collection.

Often, small companies just accepted the fact that Amazon may end up competing against them because of the business opportunity Amazon's marketplace provided.

But Amazon's physical sales aren't the only element of its business model which has been called into question.

Amazon's treatment of third-party sellers is back in the spotlight.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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