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Amazon Rigged Its Website, Forcing Consumers To Pay More

Lawsuit alleges Amazon's "Buy Box" algorithm hides cheaper items.

February 15, 2024, Los Angeles, CA – Amazon rigged its website "Buy Box" to "routinely" push the overwhelming majority of consumers to pay more for items that could've been purchased at lower costs with equal or faster delivery time, says a class action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs allege that the biased Buy Box algorithm drives customers to "reasonably" believe that featured items offer the best deal on the platform and that nearly 98 percent of Amazon sales are Buy Box featured items.

"But they [consumers] are often wrong," the complaint said, claiming that instead, Amazon features items from its retailers and sellers participating in Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), both of which pay Amazon higher fees and gain secret perks like appearing in the Buy Box.

"The result is that consumers routinely overpay for items that are available at lower prices from other sellers on Amazon -- not because consumers don't care about price, or because they're making informed purchasing decisions, but because Amazon has chosen to display the offers for which it will earn the highest fees," the complaint said.

While Amazon claims to be a 'customer-centric' company that works to offer the lowest prices to its customers, the plaintiffs' lawyers expect hundreds of millions of Amazon consumers to be victims because virtually all purchases are made from the Buy Box. Amazon employs a deceptive scheme to keep its profits -- and consumer prices -- high," the lawsuit alleged.

Lawsuits continue to plague the e-commerce juggernaut, alleging manipulative pricing, forced services, secret price-fixing algorithms, and consumer harm. FTC Chair Lina Khan said, "Amazon is now exploiting its 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."


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