·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

AG Sues Amazon Claiming Deceptive Practices, Antitrust Violations

— May 31, 2024

The Arizona lawsuit against Amazon is a significant development in the ongoing conversation about regulating Big Tech businesses.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has taken a significant step by filing a two-pronged lawsuit against Amazon on May 15, 2024. This legal action, which accuses the retail giant of deceptive practices and antitrust violations, is a crucial development in the ongoing battle between regulators and Big Tech companies.

Mayes alleges that Amazon employs deceptive practices to lure customers into signing up for Prime memberships, a subscription service that offers expedited shipping and other benefits. Once subscribed, Mayes contends that Amazon makes it difficult for customers to cancel their Prime memberships by burying the cancellation option in a confusing maze of menus and unclear instructions. This, according to the lawsuit, not only constitutes consumer fraud but also raises serious concerns about consumer rights and protection.

The second part of the lawsuit focuses on Amazon’s dominance in the online retail marketplace and its minimum advertised price (MAP) policy. Arizona argues that Amazon unfairly maintains a monopoly by requiring third-party sellers who use its platform to offer their lowest prices on Amazon. This policy effectively prevents sellers from offering lower prices on their own websites or other platforms, thereby limiting competition. Mayes argues that this policy not only stifles competition but also harms consumers by limiting their ability to find the best deals.

AG Sues Amazon Claiming Deceptive Practices, Antitrust Violations
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

“Amazon’s anti-competitive and monopolistic practices have artificially inflated prices for Arizona consumers and harmed smaller third-party retailers that rely on its platform,” Mayes said in a press release. “Amazon must be held accountable for these violations of our state laws. No matter how big and powerful, all businesses must play by the same rules and follow the same laws as everyone else.”

Arizona is seeking a court order to prohibit Amazon from engaging in these practices and impose civil penalties. In response to the lawsuit, Amazon maintains that the allegations misunderstand its business model and will ultimately harm consumers. The company claims that Prime memberships offer significant value, and a streamlined cancellation process is available. Regarding the MAP policy, Amazon argues that it benefits consumers by ensuring consistent pricing across all platforms.

This lawsuit is the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between regulators and Big Tech companies. In recent years, tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Facebook have faced increased scrutiny over their business practices, with concerns mounting over their market dominance and potential anti-competitive behavior. The Arizona lawsuit adds to the growing pressure on these companies to operate more transparently and fairly.

“While the Attorney General believes that the FTC has a strong case against Amazon, there were also good claims to make under Arizona’s consumer fraud and antitrust statutes and decided that was the best course of action for the state to take,” Richie Taylor, a spokesman for Mayes, said.

The Arizona lawsuit against Amazon is a significant development in the ongoing conversation about deceptive practices and regulating Big Tech companies. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for how authorities approach issues like consumer protection and antitrust enforcement in the digital age.

If Arizona prevails, Amazon could be forced to revamp its Prime membership signup and cancellation processes, making them more transparent and user-friendly. Additionally, a court ruling against Amazon’s MAP policy could fundamentally alter the online retail landscape, potentially leading to more competitive pricing and a wider selection of products for consumers.


Arizona accuses Amazon of being a monopoly and deceiving consumers with ‘dark patterns’

Arizona sues Amazon, alleging violations of consumer fraud and antitrust laws

Join the conversation!