Amazon business practices reviewed in two US states

Officials in the US states of California and Washington are reviewing Amazon’s business practices to determine whether the company is violating any laws with respect to the independent merchants who sell goods on its site, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that California is examining the retail giant, focusing partly on how Amazon treats independent sellers on its platform.

The New York Times reported that state investigators in Washington are reviewing Amazon’s handling of third-party sellers on its site.

Amazon and the state attorneys general in California and Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The state inquiries come amid heightened US government scrutiny into big technology companies and their impact on competition and consumers. The US justice department and the federal trade commission are pursuing competition inquiries into Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.

In May, the US house judiciary committee asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify about the company’s competition practices.

California has been asking Amazon about the company’s private label products and whether it uses the data from third-party sellers to inform which products it sells, according to the Times report, which noted that the inquiries in California and Washington do not appear to be at an advanced stage.

A Wall Street Journal report in April claimed Amazon used sensitive, confidential information about sellers on its marketplace, their products and transactions to develop its own competing products.

The company has denied such a practice and said it has a policy against it.

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