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California, Washington probing how Amazon treats 3rd-party sellers, report says

State investigators from California and Washington are reportedly probing the business practices of Amazon, particularly how the company treats third-party sellers in its online marketplace.

California’s investigation includes Amazon’s practices for selling products in competition with the third-party sellers, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The state is said to have asked Amazon whether it utilizes data from the sellers to determine the products that it puts up for sale, The New York Times reported, citing two people involved with the probe.

The Washington state attorney general’s office is also looking into whether Amazon is making it harder for third-party sellers to list products on its platform, according to The New York Times, citing correspondence that it was able to view.

Spokespersons from the attorneys general of California and Washington neither confirmed nor denied the investigations when asked by the Times. Digital Trends reached out to Amazon, but a spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Amazon’s legal troubles

In late April, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) called for the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a criminal antitrust investigation into Amazon for the company’s “predatory and exclusionary data practices to build and maintain a monopoly.” A few days later, the House Judiciary Committee asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify before Congress over allegations that the online retailer used third-party seller data to push its own products.

Earlier this month, three warehouse employees filed a lawsuit over the alleged inadequate response of Amazon to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated June 13: Added Amazon’s response to a request for comment on the matter.

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