Attorney General of California announces lawsuit against Amazon for anti-competitive practices

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that the company is causing increased prices across California with anticompetitive practices, in violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law and Cartwright Act.

Reportedly, Amazon prevents online retailers from competing by requiring them to enter into restrictive agreements penalizing them if they offer lower prices elsewhere, including competing sites like Walmart, Target, eBay, and, often, on their own websites. Merchants who do not comply get less prominent listings, lose their ‘Buy Box’ (where the buyer sees what Amazon deems the best deal), and can even be suspended or terminated from selling on Amazon.

With more than 160 million Prime members in the U.S. and 25 million in California alone, Amazon has garnered substantial market power, not by competing successfully, but through coerced agreements, the lawsuit alleges.

One seller was quoted in the announcement, saying, “We have nowhere else to go and Amazon knows it”.

The Attorney General has sought an order from the San Francisco Superior Court to enforce the following:

  • prohibit Amazon from entering into and enforcing anticompetitive contracts
  • require Amazon to affirmatively notify vendors that it does not require sellers to offer prices on par with off-Amazon prices
  • appoint a Court-approved monitor responsible for ensuring Amazon’s compliance with the Court’s order
  • order damages to compensate for the harms to consumers through increased prices and
  • order Amazon to return its ill-gotten gains and pay penalties, to deter other companies from engaging in unfair competition.

“With today’s lawsuit, we’re fighting back. 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,” said Attorney General Bonta.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

Featured Story

How the CTO can Maintain Cloud Momentum Across the Enterprise

Embracing cloud is easy for some individuals. But embedding widespread cloud adoption at the enterprise level is...

Related Tech News

Get ITBusiness Delivered

Our experienced team of journalists brings you engaging content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured Tech Jobs