DC Antitrust Suit Against Amazon Could Actually Harm Consumers by Making Online Goods More Expensive

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The District of Columbia’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit today against Amazon, alleging the tech company is engaged in anti-competitive behavior by controlling retail prices online.

Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“Amazon should be free to set the terms for third party sellers on its own platform, just as sellers are free to pass on using Amazon’s Marketplace if they don’t like the terms. Amazon is pushing to offer the lowest prices possible and while that may not always please third-party sellers, it’s the dead opposite of consumer harm.”

Senior Fellow Ryan Young said:

“The District of Columbia’s Amazon lawsuit has terrible timing, for two reasons. One, it comes on the heels of the worst pandemic in a century, during which online ordering of groceries and other goods helped keep people out of crowded stores. If successful, the District’s antitrust lawsuit would make online goods more expensive. This would hit lower-income consumers and vulnerable populations the hardest. It would also harm sellers, who are having a difficult time as it is during a tough recovery.

“Two, competition is already increasing. Other retailers such as Walmart now have their own third-party seller programs that compete with Amazon’s. This is on top of existing online options small sellers can use, such as Ebay, Etsy, and Shopify, as well as numerous niche markets, such as Reverb for musical equipment and Newegg for computer products.”

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