California files antitrust lawsuit against Amazon

Dhe 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.

Among other things, Bonta accuses Amazon of forcing third-party providers into shackle 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 inflated prices. "The reality is, many of the products we buy online would be cheaper under free market forces," Bonta said.

Amazon fights back

For hundreds of thousands of third-party providers, Amazon's online marketplace represents virtually their entire business, the prosecutor argued. 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.

An Amazon spokesman said sellers set their own prices for the products they sell on Amazon. "Amazon prides itself on offering low prices across the widest selection, and like any store, we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers who are not competitively priced." Customers are forced, which would go against the core objectives of antitrust law, the group argued. One hopes that the court in California dismiss the complaint immediately.

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