Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 68° Partly Cloudy
News >  Business

‘Sold by Amazon’ program ends following state investigation

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 26, 2022

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters in Seattle on Aug. 26, 2019. Amazon will end its “Sold by Amazon” program after an investigation by Ferguson's office.  (Associated Press )
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters in Seattle on Aug. 26, 2019. Amazon will end its “Sold by Amazon” program after an investigation by Ferguson's office. (Associated Press )
Associated Press

Associated Press

SEATTLE – Amazon will end its “Sold by Amazon” program after an investigation by Washington state’s attorney general found it was anticompetitive and violated antitrust laws, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The company engaged in unlawful price fixing and unreasonably restrained competition to maximize its own profits via the program that set a minimum price for certain third-party products sold on the platform, according to the lawsuit and consent decree filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle.

The Seattle Times reported that as a result of the investigation, Amazon will shut down the program nationwide and pay $2.25 million to the attorney general’s office, as well as provide annual updates on its compliance with antitrust laws.

The funds will go toward antitrust enforcement.

“Sold by Amazon” ran from 2018 to 2020 and the program didn’t include all of the third-party sellers on the e-commerce platform.

The company characterized it as a small program offering another tool to businesses.

Amazon acted as the retailer and purchased products from suppliers to fill customer orders, ensuring low prices for consumers.

But Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation concluded the program boosted Amazon’s sales and ensured it didn’t have to compete with third-party sellers.

“Consumers lose when corporate giants like Amazon fix prices to increase their profits,” Ferguson said Wednesday.

Through the program, third-party sellers entered into an agreement with Amazon that set a minimum payment rate for products sold on the platform, according to the lawsuit.

If the sales exceeded the agreed upon minimum, Amazon would take a cut of the additional revenue.

The Times said a spokesperson for Amazon that the newspaper did not name said the company believes the program was legal and good for consumers.

Amazon in 2020 generated $80.5 billion in third-party seller services, according to market and consumer data firm Statista.

Third-party sales account for more than 50% of all the sales on Amazon.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.