The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general sued Amazon on Tuesday for allegedly using its power as a monopoly to illegally block competition and inflate prices.
“The complaint alleges that Amazon violates the law not because it is big, but because it engages in a course of exclusionary conduct that prevents current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging,” the FTC said in an announcement about the complaint against Amazon.
The online retailer biases search results in favor of its own inferior products and it forces sellers to pay up to 50% of their total revenue to it, according to the complaint.
“Amazon is now exploiting its monopoly power to enrich itself while raising prices and degrading service for the tens of millions of American families who shop on its platform and the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon to reach them,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to hold Amazon to account for these monopolistic practices and restore the lost promise of free and fair competition.”
The states that joined in the lawsuit with the FTC are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
The FTC already sued Amazon earlier this year for allegedly enrolling unknowing customers into its Prime program and making it difficult for consumers to cancel their subscriptions.