Amazon is the largest online sales platform in existence, and that is something that is evident at this time of year: the recently occurred Black Friday, Christmas… But is this dominance in online commerce detrimental to prices and, therefore, consumers? Several US antitrust organizations believe it is.
Amazon’s total dominance of the online buying and selling market has brought suspicion of the company raising prices into the courtroom
At least that much is clear after reading the two complaints filed against Amazon by the attorney general of California and Washington DC respectively. The complaints allege that Amazon artificially raises the prices of products sold on the platform by penalizing third-party sellers who offer lower prices outside the platform.
As a specific example, the complaints claim that Amazon used its position as the leading seller of Apple products on the platform to offer higher prices on iPhones and iPads.
For its part, Amazon has reported that. prosecutors have understood everything “backwards”.The company prides itself on offering the lowest possible prices and reserves the right not to offer deals they deem uncompetitive. They also claim that, should prosecutors achieve their goal, Amazon would be forced to “offer higher prices to all consumers”.
Whatever verdict is reached in the U.S. courts, the reality is that Amazon is by far and away the largest online retail platform in both the U.S. and many other countries. This makes sellers outside of Amazon look for a place on the platform to potentially reach more customers, which puts the company created by Jeff Bezos in an unbeatable position should it decide to raise prices, which has happened before.