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Amazon faces new antitrust lawsuit filed by California AG alleging anticompetitive practices – GeekWire

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California filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Wednesday that accuses the tech giant of violating antitrust laws.

Amazon has faced increasing antitrust-related scrutiny in recent years from government agencies across the globe, but this suit represents “the biggest legal challenge to date” for Amazon, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that Amazon forces third-party sellers and suppliers to enter into “anticompetitive agreements on price” that allegedly prevent them from offering their products at lower prices on competitor sites, and enforce “drastic penalties” if violated. The suit alleges that the agreements “insulate Amazon from price competition, entrenching Amazon’s dominance, preventing effective competition, and harming consumers and the California economy.”

“Without basic price competition, without different online sites trying to outdo each other with lower prices, prices artificially stabilize at levels higher than would be the case in a competitive market,” the suit notes. “Competing sites do not offer lower prices the way they would in a competitive market, not because Amazon competed successfully, not because Amazon is a more efficient retailer and marketplace, but because Amazon forbids it by contract.”

The suit, which stems from a two-year long investigation, aims to block Amazon from enacting such policies and asks that the company is monitored to ensure compliance, in addition to a civil penalty of $2,500 for each violation of California’s competition rules.

“The reality is: Many of the products we buy online would be cheaper if market forces were left unconstrained. With today’s lawsuit, we’re fighting back,” California AG Rob Bonta said in a press release. “We won’t allow Amazon to bend the market to its will at the expense of California consumers, small business owners, and a fair and competitive economy.” 

Amazon faced a similar suit last year, filed by the District of Columbia, which was dismissed by a district judge and is now in an appeals process.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment.

Read the full suit below:

California AG sues Amazon, … by GeekWire

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