Congress threatens Amazon with potential criminal investigation

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In response to a recent Reuters report which questioned Amazon’s private label practices in India, the US House Judiciary Committee delivered an Andy Jassy-style letter implying that the company misled Congress for last year’s audience on Amazon’s private label practices.

During that hearing, then CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said the company was sticking to a policy that prohibited the use of third-party seller data to influence and promote its private label earnings. , but he couldn’t categorically “guarantee” that Amazon did not violate the policy. It said during the hearing that around 60% of its sales are from third-party sellers and that it hosts more than 2.5 million third-party sellers in its online marketplace.

Amazon, probably not by chance, today released the figures for its Small Business Empowerment Report 2021 which showed a 15% increase in the number of US third-party sellers, almost all small and medium-sized businesses, who made over $ 1 million in sales this year. Third-party sellers have created about 1.8 million jobs in the United States, according to the report.

Between September 2020 and August 2021, the report highlighted third-party vendors based in the United States, selling more than 3.8 billion products and an average revenue of around $ 200,000, up from 170. $ 000 year over year. Moreover, the report says more more than 200,000 new third-party sellers have started selling in the U.S. store, a 45% year-over-year increase, benefiting small businesses during COVID-19.

the Reuters report examined Amazon’s behavior in India, claiming that the online and physical retailer has imitated third-party products and falsified research results to improve and strengthen the status of its own brand portfolio in India.

The overseas report is similar to alleged allegations made in the United States in a the Wall Street newspaper report, which also initially prompted the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to contact Amazon and request a hearing via letter. the Letter of October 18 to new CEO Jassy, ​​however, goes a little further and wonders if the matter should be taken up by the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation.

The letter states: “Given the gravity of this matter, we are offering you one last opportunity to provide exculpatory evidence to corroborate previous testimony and statements on behalf of Amazon to the Committee. We strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to correct the record and provide the Committee with sworn, truthful and accurate responses to this request as we consider whether a referral of this matter to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation is appropriate. “

The letter continues: “Last Wednesday, Reuters reported that Amazon “has carried out a systematic campaign of counterfeiting and manipulating research results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s fastest growing markets.”

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