Amazon Policy Punishes Consumers, D.C. Suit Claims

WASHINGTON— Inc. was hit Tuesday with an antitrust suit by the District of Columbia, which alleges that the company blocks sellers on its marketplace from offering better deals elsewhere, leading to higher prices for consumers.

The lawsuit targets contracts between Amazon and its sellers, which D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said prevent the sellers from offering lower prices on any other website, including their own.

“Amazon wins because it controls pricing across the online retail-sales market, putting itself at an advantage over everyone else,” Mr. Racine said on a call with reporters. “These restrictions allow Amazon to build and maintain monopoly power.”

Amazon disputed the allegations, saying that sellers on its site set their own prices.

“Like any store we reserve the right not to highlight offers to customers that are not priced competitively,” Amazon said. “The relief the AG seeks would force Amazon to feature higher prices to customers, oddly going against core objectives of antitrust law.”

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