One of the most valuable US tech companies, Amazon, is facing scrutiny in both California and Washington as state investigators are reportedly looking into its business practices, according to media reports.
The inquiries at least partly involve Amazon’s mistreatment of sellers in its online marketplace, which the company also uses to promote its private-label products, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times wrote, citing sources.
One of the reports said that California asked about Amazon’s in-house product sales in competition with third-parties. The investigators are also reportedly looking into whether the company uses data from the vendors “to inform which products it sells.”
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Meanwhile, Washington is investigating whether Amazon could be making it more difficult for third-party sellers to place their products on other online platforms.
While both inquiries are said to be in the early stages, it’s not the first time the US tech behemoth has faced scrutiny at home and abroad. Although Jeff Bezos’ company turned out to be one of the big winners during the corona-virus pandemic, judging by its first quarter earnings, Amazon employees have been complaining about poor working conditions and even reportedly sued the company over Covid-19 exposure, claiming that the retailer failed to implement all the necessary precautionary measures.
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The news of the investigations in two US states comes as the European Union is to set to file antitrust charges against Amazon over its use of third-party seller data. According to the Wall Street Journal, the charges, which could be filed formally as soon as next week, are part of a long-running probe into the potential unfair treatment of vendors on its platform.