SEC Continues to Investigate Amazon Over Misuse of Seller’s Data

Amazon's anti-competitive business practices are still being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to a Wall Street Journal report published Wednesday, the investigation is centered on the use of data from third-party sellers.

Source: International Business Times | Published on April 8, 2022

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According to the Journal, the SEC has requested that several Amazon executives turn over emails and communications.

The e-commerce behemoth has a history of cloning third-party sellers' products on the platform, and they have done so all over the world. Several investigations, including Reuters and Journal reports, have uncovered scandals surrounding these tactics.

According to internal Amazon documents obtained by Reuters in October 2021, the company manipulated "search results to favor Amazon's own products, as well as copying other seller's goods, were part of a formal, clandestine strategy at Amazon."

Amazon allegedly prioritized its own products over those of the sellers, a strategy that these third-party sellers imitated.

Amazon responded to the report by stating that it was "unable to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the information and claims" because Reuters did not share the documents they obtained with the company.

In response to the Reuters report, the spokesperson stated, "We believe these claims are factually incorrect and unsubstantiated."

Amazon was previously accused of lying to Congress about the issue when it stated that it does not use "individual data when we make decisions to launch private brands."

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and former CEO, testified before Congress about the company's practices in 2019 and 2020 before stepping down in February 2021. In October 2021, five members of the House Judiciary Committee said they were considering referring him "for criminal investigation" over misleading comments.

Following multiple reports about the company's practices, Amazon claims to have launched an internal investigation into its private label division.

Several government agencies in the United States, Europe, and Asia have launched investigations or taken steps to enact legislation to combat these alleged anti-competitive business practices.