Amazon has reportedly shut down its “Sold by Amazon” program following an investigation from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson which found that the program violated antitrust laws. The program involved Amazon setting minimum prices for certain sellers’ products and the Masters of the Universe taking a cut of anything sold at prices above the minimum. One Amazon seller commented on the program, “Almost everyone I talked to said this doesn’t seem right. Normally, when you let the foxes run the hen house, the hens get eaten.”
The Seattle Times reports that Amazon is putting an end to its “Sold by Amazon” program following an investigation by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson which found that the program was anticompetitive and violated antitrust laws.
A lawsuit and consent decree filed on Wednesday in King County Superior Court stated that Amazon engaged in unlawful price-fixing and restrained competition in order to maximize its profits. Amazon plans to shut down the program nationwide and will pay $2.25 million to the attorney general’s office as a result of the investigation. The e-commerce giant has also promised to provide annual updates on its compliance with antitrust law.
The program operated on Amazon’s platform from 2018 to 2020 when Amazon suspended it for reasons unrelated to the antitrust investigation.
The program offered third-party sellers an option to enter into an agreement with Amazon that set a minimum payment rate for products sold on the platform. If the sale of the items exceeded the agreed-upon minimum price, Amazon would take a percentage of the additional revenue.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement: “Consumers lose when corporate giants like Amazon fix prices to increase their profits. Today’s action promotes product innovation and consumer choice, and makes the market more competitive for sellers in Washington state and across the country.”
Dave Bryant, a third-party seller who has operated on the platform for almost 10 years, commented that shortly after the launch of the program he remembers the “pretty widely felt sentiment was this cannot be a good idea to allow Amazon to control our pricing.”
He added: “Almost everyone I talked to said this doesn’t seem right. Normally, when you let the foxes run the hen house, the hens get eaten.”
Read more at the Seattle Times here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com