The city of Washington, D.C. has filed a lawsuit against the tech giant Amazon, with the Attorney General of D.C. claiming that Amazon has engaged in monopolistic behavior against its competitors, ABC News reports.
Filed on Tuesday, the lawsuit claims that Amazon has been engaging in price-fixing through various contract provisions and other policies that are enforced on third-party sellers. According to the suit, these conditions make it so that any sellers offering a product on Amazon’s website are incapable of offering the same products at lower prices on any other website.
In a conference call announcing the lawsuit, D.C.’s Attorney General Karl Racine (D-D.C.) declared that “we filed this antitrust lawsuit to put an end to Amazon’s illegal control of prices across the online retail market. We need a fair online marketplace that expands options available to D.C. residents and promotes competition, innovation, and choice.”
Responding to the suit, Amazon claimed that Racine’s proposed changes “would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law.” The company claimed that “the DC Attorney General has it exactly backwards,” and that “sellers set their own prices for the products they offer in our store,” without providing any evidence to back up this claim.
Amazon is one of several major Big Tech companies that is currently facing antitrust actions to some degree, ranging from localized lawsuits like D.C.’s to investigations by Congress. Other such companies include the search engine Google, the social media platform Facebook, and the smartphone and computer company Apple. Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is worth approximately $187 billion, making him by far the wealthiest person in the world.