Amazon set to meet with FTC ahead of potential antitrust suit

Amazon will reportedly meet with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ahead of a potential antitrust lawsuit against the company.

The FTC has been investigating Amazon for years, beginning during the presidency of Donald Trump when the government decided to look into it along with Google, Facebook and Apple for alleged violations of antitrust law.

Now, with a lawsuit potentially on the horizon for Amazon, Reuters is reporting that the e-commerce giant will meet with the watchdog next week.

Chief among the allegations facing Amazon is that it favours its own products and disincentivizes consumers from buying from outside sellers on the Amazon platform. Other allegations facing Amazon include the use of third-party data to decide which products to sell, forcing Prime sellers to use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services, and busing its position as a gatekeeper by refusing to allow big rivals to advertise against its products on the Amazon platform.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that Amazon will argue that an antitrust lawsuit should not be filed.

It is commonplace for the FTC to meet with companies before making a final decision on whether to file a lawsuit.

The FTC sued Amazon in June, alleging that Amazon artificially draws out the process of cancelling a Prime membership. The suit cites internal documentation, with the Prime cancellation process referred to as ‘Project Iliad’ – referring to the Greek epic and its lengthy, drawn out narrative. Amazon said that the claims were "false on the facts and the law."

Amazon earlier this year agreed a $5.8 million settlement with the FTC over its Ring doorbell camera unit, after it was found that staff had been using access to the cameras to spy on customers. The company also agreed to a separate $25 million settlement over allegations that it failed children’s privacy rights by failing to delete Alexa recordings.

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