Washington filed a complaint and settlement with Amazon, resolving claims that Amazon’s “Sold by Amazon” program , which allowed Amazon to agree on price with third-party sellers, rather than compete with them, violated antitrust laws. The state alleged that Amazon unreasonably restrained competition in order to maximize its own profits off third-party sales, which constituted unlawful price-fixing.
According to the complaint, prices for the vast majority of products enrolled in the “Sold by Amazon” program stabilized at artificially high levels. In addition, the state alleged that the pricing algorithm Amazon used in the program caused some sellers to see a decline in sales because of higher prices. Their customers sometimes chose to buy Amazon’s own branded products, which resulted in a win-win situation for Amazon. As part of the consent decree, Amazon agreed to stop the “Sold by Amazon” program nationwide and provide the Attorney General’s Office with annual updates on its compliance with antitrust laws. In addition, Amazon will pay $2.25 million to the Attorney General’s Office, which will be used to support the Attorney General’s antitrust enforcement.