D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit today against Amazon alleging that the online retail giant has violated the District of Columbia Antitrust Act. The complaint accuses Amazon of stifling competition by imposing contractual clauses that prevent third-party sellers from offering lower prices outside of the Amazon platform. The lawsuit explains that the agreements ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers and less innovation. “Amazon wins because it controls pricing across the online retail sales market, putting itself at an advantage over everyone else,” Racine told reporters. “These restrictions allow Amazon to build and maintain monopoly power.” In February, EPIC filed a complaint with the D.C. Attorney General alleging that Amazon unlawfully employs dark patterns to manipulate consumers when they attempt to cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions. These dark patterns enable Amazon to continue collecting subscription fees and retain the personal data of misdirected subscribers. EPIC also signed onto a recent coalition letter calling for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon’s use of dark patterns in the Prime cancellation process. EPIC has long argued that anticompetitive practices and market consolidation in the technology sector pose a threat to privacy rights.
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