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DC’s AG Amazon Antitrust Suit Dismissed

 |  March 20, 2022

A US court dismissed a lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc on Friday that accused the company of antitrust violations for barring third-party sellers from offering better deals for their products elsewhere, reported The Wall Street Journal. 

Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia granted Amazon’s motion to dismiss the complaint filed last year by Washington D.C. attorney general Karl Racine.

“We believe that the Superior Court got this wrong, and its oral ruling did not seem to consider the detailed allegations in the complaint and a recent decision of a federal court to allow a nearly identical lawsuit to move forward,” the Office of the Attorney General spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that the office was considering its legal options.

Amazon argued in its motion to dismiss the D.C. lawsuit that pricing restrictions in its contracts with sellers are common in the retail industry and entirely legal.

The company also argued that the lawsuit would hurt consumers if it succeeded. Amazon has often argued on the strength of its efficiency and ability to offer customers lower prices in defence of critics of its business practices.

“One of Amazon’s core business objectives in serving its customers is to have a reputation for low prices, and Amazon works constantly to maintain that reputation by offering competitively priced products in its store,” Amazon said in its motion to dismiss, filed in October. “The District’s case, if allowed to proceed, would undermine this pro-consumer approach.”

The D.C. attorney general’s office argued that it was Amazon that was driving up prices.

The case was brought under District of Columbia law rather than federal law, and its immediate impact would have been limited even if it had succeeded.

Amazon “has made online shopping more expensive for consumers through its anticompetitive agreements that prevent sellers from offering lower prices on and to competing online marketplaces,” the District said in its response. “These agreements curtail competition, resulting in higher prices, lower innovation and fewer choices for consumers.”

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