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Arizona accuses Amazon of being a monopoly and deceiving consumers with “dark patterns”

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses two new lawsuits filed by the Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes against Amazon. The lawsuits accuse Amazon of engaging in deceptive business practices and unfairly maintaining monopoly status.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Arizona Attorney General's Lawsuits Against Amazon

1. What are the two lawsuits filed by the Arizona Attorney General against Amazon?

  • One lawsuit accuses Amazon of using deceptive "dark patterns" to make it difficult for users to cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions, violating Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act.
  • The other lawsuit accuses Amazon of unfairly maintaining monopoly status by enforcing agreements with third-party sellers that restrict them from offering lower prices off the Amazon platform, violating Arizona's Uniform State Antitrust Act. It also targets Amazon's "Buy Box" algorithm, alleging it is biased in favor of Amazon's own offers or those from sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon.

2. How do these lawsuits compare to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) case against Amazon?

  • The lawsuits bring similar complaints to those the FTC is already facing, such as the allegations around deceptive practices with Amazon Prime cancellation and anticompetitive behavior.

3. What is the Arizona Attorney General seeking from these lawsuits?

  • The Arizona Attorney General is asking the court to stop Amazon from engaging in the allegedly deceptive and anticompetitive practices, and to award civil penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

4. How did Amazon respond to the lawsuits?

  • Amazon said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the cases, claiming the Arizona AG initiated them without reviewing any documents from Amazon, resulting in a "fundamental misunderstanding" of how Amazon's businesses work.
  • Amazon defended its Prime sign-up and cancellation processes as "clear and simple by design" and said the lawsuits would "force Amazon to engage in practices that actually harm consumers and the many businesses that sell in our store—such as having to feature higher prices."
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