A new report from Bloomberg appears to indicate that the Federal Trade Commission is ramping up an investigation into Amazon over its marketplace.
Attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting lengthy, in-depth interviews with small businesses that sell their products through Amazon, three of the merchants interviewed told Bloomberg.
They were specifically asked how much of their revenue came from Amazon sales in comparison with other e-commerce sites such as Walmart and eBay, and the interviews were said to last roughly 90 minutes.
Vox reported in June that the FTC had started speaking with the company’s competitors to gain some insight into its business practices. It did not identify these competitors and noted that these talks did not necessarily mean a full-blown investigation was underway.
Experts told Bloomberg, however, that its findings suggested the FTC could indeed be in the early stages of an official investigation, given the duration of the interviews and the resources devoted to the operation.
“Early in an investigation, that’s a sign of staff doing a serious job,” a former FTC official named Michael Kades said. “They’re spending lots of time with witnesses and trying to really understand what they’re saying.” The Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jennifer Rie said the questioning had the hallmarks of the “background phase” of an investigation.
Source: Business Insider