Consumers claim Apple and Amazon conspired to raise iPhone prices

Consumers claim Apple and Amazon conspired to raise iPhone prices


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Apple Inc. has been accused. and Inc. In a lawsuit, the company struck an illegal deal to raise the prices of iPhones and iPads by eliminating hundreds of third-party sellers who often offer deep discounts.

Consumer Stephen Floyd says an “unlawful boycott agreement” between Apple and Amazon forced him to pay $319.99 for an iPad when he should have been able to get a discount in a “normal competitive market,” according to a proposed class action complaint filed in Seattle federal court. .

The lawsuit comes as Amazon faces antitrust scrutiny by states and regulators over policies involving third-party merchants. California sued Amazon in September alleging the company is forcing third-party merchants to agree to policies that “artificially” lead to high pricesto consumers. Amazon denies any wrongdoing in this case.

Floyd said in his suit that Apple prevented Amazon from directly selling some of its fast-selling products because it didn’t like competition from sellers in the marketplace, prompting the e-commerce company to buy Apple products at higher prices from other sources. But the companies struck a deal in 2018 to exclude nearly 600 third-party merchants from Amazon, according to the complaint.

“In exchange for eliminating Apple sellers who were lowering online prices for Apple products, Apple agreed to provide Amazon with a consistent supply at a discount of up to 10% — based on its ability to keep excluded sellers out of the Amazon Marketplace,” Floyd said. .

This hurts consumers and third-party merchants, according to the complaint, which seeks compensation for all consumers affected by the companies’ behavior.

Apple and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Big brands, including Apple, are grappling with counterfeit products that have become rampant on Amazon. Apple accused a New Jersey company in a 2016 lawsuit of selling counterfeit Apple products on Amazon. Seattle-based e-commerce a company his feet Various tools It aims to reduce counterfeiting, which also limits who can sell what in the popular web store.

Floyd said in his complaint that Apple and Amazon had publicly justified their agreement as a way to tackle fraud. But “when the illegal boycott agreement was concluded, there were already tools available to crack down on counterfeiting.”

© Bloomberg LP 2022
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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