|D.C. AG targets Amazon’s first-party business in amended antitrust complaint|
Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine has expanded his antitrust complaint against Amazon to include the company's relationships with wholesale retailers. New sections recently added to the district’s legal complaint, first filed in May, focus on Amazon’s contracts with so-called first-party sellers, companies that sell to Amazon, which in turn sells products to customers. The earlier complaint focused on third-party sellers who directly sell to consumers via the Amazon marketplace, alleging that the company acted anti-competitively by effectively blocking them from offering better deals off Amazon’s site. According to the updated suit, the deals allow Amazon to lower its prices to beat out competitors and make the wholesalers who provided it with goods compensate it for any lost profit. This in turn leads wholesalers to increase their prices elsewhere, including when selling to Amazon’s rivals, thus making it harder to compete with the e-commerce giant, Mr Racine alleged. Amazon spokesman Jack Evans pointed to a past statement the company issued about the lawsuit, which said: “The DC Attorney General has it exactly backwards – sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store.” The statement added: "The relief the AG seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law." Amazon has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.