FTC Steps Up Investigation of Amazon Over Anti-Competitive Charges

Investigators from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have begun interviewing merchants that sell on Amazon’s third-party marketplace in an attempt to ascertain if the ecommerce giant is using anti-competitive practices, according to a report in Bloomberg.

The investigative team includes attorneys and at least one economist, conducting 90-minute interviews, three merchants who went through the process told Bloomberg. All were asked what percentage of their sales were on Amazon.com vs. other marketplaces like eBay and Walmart.com.

Tech giants in general have been receiving increased attention lately from the federal government over alleged anti-competitive practices, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June that the FTC and the Department of Justice were dividing up the investigations, with Justice examining Google and Apple and the FTC handling Facebook and Amazon.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), whose members include Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Best Buy, wrote a 10-page letter to the FTC in June 30 urging the FTC to look into competitive conduct by the big players.

Things are getting hot for Amazon across the pond as well. The European Union in July opened its own probe into Amazon’s alleged anti-competitive activities, including the practice of offering its own products that go head-to-head against its sellers, a complaint merchants have had for years.

You can read the rest of the Bloomberg piece here.

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