California is suing Amazon, alleging that its policies cause higher prices for both sellers and buyers.
In the lawsuit, state Attorney General Rob Bonta claims that the platform penalizes sellers and suppliers such as Walmart and Target, who offer lower prices outside of Amazon. According to the suit docs, Amazon displays these sellers’ items lower on the site and, in some cases, blocks them from selling on Amazon altogether.
Amazon has been the topic of harmful anti-competitive practices in the past, which only ends up driving prices higher for everyone. The platform charges sellers increased fees to sell goods on their site, forcing sellers to raise their prices to make a profit. Amazon sellers must then raise the cost of their goods on other websites they list. According to the state, these actions have long forced Californians to pay too much for products.
A spokesperson for the company issues a statement maintaining that each seller is responsible for setting their own prices but reiterates that Amazon reserves the right to limit the visibility of certain offers that are not priced competitively.
“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,” Bonta stated.
Last year, a judge dismissed a similar lawsuit by the District of Columbia over Amazon’s pricing system. Therefore, California will be tasked with producing enough evidence to convince a judge that Amazon has cost consumers millions.