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FTC Antitrust Lawsuit Accuses Amazon Of A Monopoly, Illegal Conduct

Lawsuit, joined by 17 state attorneys general, aims to stop unlawful conduct.

September 27, 2023, Los Angeles, CA – The Federal Trade Commission accused Amazon, worth $1.3 trillion today, of being a monopoly and misusing its powers, punishing merchants and limiting services to sellers that don't buckle to Amazon's demands, according to the high stakes lawsuit filed Tuesday. Amazon forces sellers to use its warehouses and delivery services, inflating costs for consumers and sellers, and to offer products more cheaply on other platforms, says the FTC, which quotes a seller as saying: "We have nowhere else to go, and Amazon knows it." Amazon has about 500,000 independent sellers on its websites.

The FTC is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction ordering Amazon to stop its unlawful conduct. The lawsuit is filed in federal court in Seattle, where Amazon is based. "Left unchecked, Amazon will continue its illegal course of conduct to maintain its monopoly power," says the FTC in its complaint, which asks the court "to put an end to Amazon's illegal course of conduct, pry loose Amazon's monopolistic control, deny Amazon the fruits of its unlawful practices, and restore the lost promise of competition."

In a press briefing, FTC Chair Lina Khan said that Amazon had used illegal tactics to fend off companies that would have risen to challenge its monopoly. "Amazon is now exploiting that monopoly power to harm its customers, both the tens of millions of families that shop on Amazon's platform and the hundreds of thousands of sellers that use Amazon to reach them," she said. "Amazon now takes one of every $2 that a seller makes," says Khan.

Amazon's ongoing pattern of illegal conduct blocks competition, allowing it to wield monopoly power to inflate prices, degrade quality, and stifle innovation for consumers and businesses.

Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and the FTC contributed to this article.


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