A Seattle federal court has given the green light for a prospective consumer class action against Amazon, alleging the online retail giant’s involvement in a price-fixing scheme that artificially inflates prices for various products on its platform. In a recent development, US District Judge John Chun issued a 24-page order, permitting the lawsuit’s advancement, as it challenges Amazon’s pricing policies, which the consumer plaintiffs argue violate antitrust laws.
The plaintiffs, comprising five individuals residing in California and Maryland who are regular Amazon shoppers, claim that Amazon’s actions run counter to the fundamental principles of antitrust regulations. This ruling now allows the plaintiffs to proceed with their claims, while Amazon retains the opportunity to defend itself against any allegations of wrongdoing in subsequent stages of the litigation.
As of now, Amazon has not provided any immediate comment on the court’s decision, and the legal team representing the company in this matter has yet to respond to requests for statements.
Steve Berman, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, expressed their satisfaction with the court’s order, stating that they are “thrilled” and eagerly anticipate the opportunity to pursue the case further.
This lawsuit is just one of several legal actions, both private and state-based, that have accused Amazon of engaging in business practices that potentially contravene consumer protection laws or antitrust regulations. Additionally, the ruling coincides with ongoing deliberations by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a potential lawsuit against Amazon.
The consumer lawsuit, initially filed in July 2022, centers on Amazon’s “minimum margin agreements” with its merchandise suppliers. The plaintiffs contend that these agreements effectively restrict non-Amazon retailers from selling the same products at lower prices elsewhere, contributing to the alleged price-fixing scheme.