Amazon warns merchants about antitrust bills in Congress, says it could hurt their business

Amazon has warned some merchants who sell through its marketplace that the US Congress’ antitrust proposals could hurt their business, a company spokesman said.

In June, the US House Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would make companies like Amazon decide between operating a platform and competing on it. The antitrust bills gained bipartisan support, posing Washington’s most serious challenge to the power of big tech companies over online marketplaces.

Recently, an Amazon program manager for public policy emailed a merchant to say about the proposals: “We are concerned that they could have significant negative effects on small and medium-sized businesses like yours that sell in our store. “

The employee then requested a phone conversation, according to the email, which was posted online by the e-commerce and advisory blog EcomCrew. Amazon has confirmed the authenticity of the message.

When asked whether the company had begged merchants to help it lobby against the legislation, Amazon said its email spoke for itself. The spokesman also said the disclosure reflects limited engagement with sellers, with whom he communicates regularly on different topics.

In an earlier statement, Amazon said antitrust legislation would make it harder for merchants to make a living and reduce price competition, likely hurting consumers.

CNBC previously reported the correspondence on Wednesday.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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