Amazon Meets With FTC Ahead Of Expected Antitrust Case

Image credit: Amazon

Amazon to meet with Federal Trade Commission next week ahead of long-expected antitrust lawsuit, after cases involving Prime, Ring, Alexa

US e-commerce giant Amazon has reportedly been called on to meet with federal trade regulators next week, as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) prepares a long-expected antitrust lawsuit.

Multiple media outlets reported that company officials were to meet with FTC commissioners the week of 14 August. The regulator typically meets with companies as a final move before filing a lawsuit.

The FTC began probing Amazon under the Trump administration, along with launching probes into Google, Facebook (now Meta Platforms) and Apple over alleged antitrust abuses.

Amazon has been accused of favouring its own products over competitors that sell on the same platform, amongst other abuses.

Amazon Andrew Stickelman Unsplash
Image credit: Andrew Stickelman/Unsplash

Antitrust case

The firm has denied wrongdoing.

Amazon is expected to argue at the meetings with commissioners that the FTC should not file an antitrust lawsuit, according to an unnamed source cited by Reuters.

Amazon and the FTC declined to comment.

The regulator’s current chair, Lina Khan, a Biden appointee, wrote in a 2017 Yale Law Journal article titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” that it was necesasry to focus on elements other than price to identify the firm’s antitrust abuses.

Amazon has been accused of illegally using data from sellers that use its platform to decide which products to show to consumers, requiring Prime users to use Amazon’s logistics services and using below-cost prices to keep customers using services such as Prime.

Prime, Ring, Alexa lawsuits

The firm, which has about 1.5 million employees worldwide and is the US’ second-biggest employer after Wal-Mart, has been accused of depressing wages.

In a June lawsuit the FTC accused Amazon of adding users to the subscription-based Prime service without their consent and making it difficult for them to leave.

Amazon said the FTC’s case was “false on the facts and the law”.

In May Amazon settled two cases with the FTC over its Ring subsidiary and its Alexa voice assistant, paying a total of more than $30 million (£24m).