FTC Probe Embroils Amazon Bigwigs Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy; They Seek Relief

FTC Probe Embroils Amazon Bigwigs Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy; They Seek Relief
  • Amazon.com Inc AMZN alleged the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of harassing its top executives, including founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy, as part of a probe into its Prime membership scheme, the Financial Times reports.

    Since March 2021, the FTC has investigated whether Amazon used dishonest tactics to draw customers into Prime membership. 

    This subscription service offered free delivery and other benefits at $139 per year.

    The FTC also probed whether Amazon misguided the customers seeking to cancel their membership.

    Amazon acknowledged that the investigation had become "unduly burdensome" on employees and executives following subpoenas to at least 19 of them. 

    Amazon urged the FTC to "quash or limit" the demands. Amazon said briefing Bezos and Jassy to testify on "granular" details posed a "tremendous burden on them."

    At a minimum, Amazon sought to extend the deadline. Amazon alleged that the sudden demands followed months of inactivity from the FTC with insufficient time to comply. 

    Additionally, the FTC had bypassed Amazon's legal team to serve the subpoenas directly to the individuals, causing "confusion" and "delay." 

    The FTC extended its investigation to four other Amazon subscription services, including its ebook service Kindle Unlimited and music streaming platform Amazon Music.

    Amazon's requests will be subject to a vote by the FTC's commissioners, involving three Democratic and two Republican appointees.

    The FTC had lodged an antitrust probe into Amazon's cloud computing business to gather information about competition issues related to Amazon Web Services.

    Previously Amazon sought immunity from FTC Chair Lina Khan from antitrust investigations of the company considering her extensive past criticisms of the e-commerce retailer.

    Price action: AMZN shares traded higher by 0.59% at $144.02 premarket on the last check Tuesday.

Posted In: GovernmentNewsRegulationsTechMedia