California Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon ()

SAN FRANCISCO (dpa-AFX) – The most populous US state of California has the world’s largest online mail order company Amazon sued for alleged antitrust violations. The company is driving up prices through anti-competitive behavior in violation of California law, Attorney General Rob Bonta said in San Francisco on Wednesday. Amazon did not initially comment on the allegations.

Prosecutor Bonta accuses Amazon, among other things, of forcing third-party providers into gag contracts that prohibit them from selling their goods cheaper on other trading platforms. Because of the group’s great market power, smaller sellers could not defend themselves and end customers would ultimately pay “artificially inflated” prices. “The reality is, many of the products we buy online would be cheaper under free market forces,” Bonta said.

For hundreds of thousands of third-party providers, Amazon’s online marketplace represents virtually their entire business, the prosecutor continued. Due to the high level of dependency, the company can dictate the conditions to them. Critics have long accused Amazon of abusing its market power. The allegations also include that the group favors its own brands on the platform, uses trading data to spy on third parties and copies their product ideas./hbr/DP/jha/

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