Surely, they have all the possible tools at their disposal, but human beings still have a pretty devastating record in regards to not making mistakes. This dynamic has already went on full display quite a few times throughout our history, with each appearance practically forcing us look for a defensive cover.. We will, on our part, solve the stated conundrum as soon as we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. The move to introduce a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, considering it instantly concealed our many shortcomings, and therefore empowered us in a way that we had never even imagined before. However, the utopia to emerge here will soon drop dead, and if we are being honest, it was all technology’s fault. You see, the moment technology and its layered nature were allowed to take over the scene; they gave people an unprecedented chance to exploit others for their own benefit. In case this didn’t sound bad enough, the whole runner went on to materialize on such a massive scale that it expectantly overwhelmed our governing forces and sent them back to the drawing board. After a lengthy spell in the middle of nowhere, though, the regulatory industry finally looks ready to pull off a renaissance. The same has turned increasingly evident over the recent past, and it should only be looking to get stronger on the back of a new lawsuit.
California State Attorney General, Rob Bonta has formally filed a lawsuit against Amazon for allegedly violating the antitrust laws by blocking price parity across the board. As per certain reports, the accusations relate to how the e-commerce giant leaves merchants with no option but to sign off on agreement that penalize them if they offer their products elsewhere for lower prices. This not only hurts the wider competition, but in many cases, it also forces these sellers to inflate their prices on other platforms, something that consequentially puts the customer at a grave disadvantage. Hence, in order to restore the all-important market balance, Bonta has encouraged the court to bar Amazon from requiring the stated third-party agreements. Beyond that, the State Attorney General is also seeking damages for the sellers who have been affected by the company’s anti-competitive practices, along with other relevant financial penalties.
“Amazon makes consumers think they are getting the lowest prices possible, when in fact, they cannot get the low prices that would prevail in a freely competitive market because Amazon has coerced and induced its third-party sellers and wholesale suppliers to enter into anticompetitive agreements on price,” the complaint stated. “The intent and effect of these agreements is to insulate Amazon from price competition, entrenching Amazon’s dominance, preventing effective competition, and harming consumers and the California economy.”
Interestingly enough, this lawsuit isn’t the first complaint we have witnessed in terms of Amazon’s questionable tactics. Earlier this year, the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson launched a price-fixing investigation against the company, a move that led to Amazon shutting down its “Sold by Amazon” program. Before Bonta, though, Attorney General of District of Columbia, Karl Racine also tried to punish Amazon for its anti-competitive pricing. However, the stated lawsuit was notably rejected by the court.
Amazon, on the other hand, has warned that the latest complaint, if allowed to go through, could lead to consequences which might eventually hurt consumers’ interests.
“The relief the (attorney general) seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law,” an Amazon spokesperson said.