Amazon signed an agreement with Apple in 2018 to conduct the direct sale of iPhone models on its website. Now, the business partnership is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
According to the The Verge, the FTC intends to assess the impact of the agreement on the marketplace, in which Amazon mediates sales from other merchants. That’s because the partnership allowed Apple to have control over who could and could not resell its products.
In theory, the deal was made to prevent contraband or deceptive Apple devices from being sold on Amazon. In practice, he stopped hundreds of legitimate retailers from offering refurbished and cheaper products.
Seller John Bumstead used Amazon’s marketplace to sell refurbished MacBooks and confirmed to The Verge have been heard by representatives of the FTC. According to Bumstead, they wanted to know how the agreement between the companies impacted their business.
The seller claimed to have received an alert from Amazon about the new rules and, months later, stopped using the marketplace. The company did not withdraw resellers entirely, but Apple’s authorization requirement to sell its products prevented many in the sport.
The deal could lead to a complaint for breach of antitrust laws, since Apple would be using the rules to set, for example, a minimum price for resellers to market their products. The lawsuit could also lead to punishments for Amazon, which is already being investigated in Europe.
The European Commission wants to know if the company is adopting anti-competitive practices to gain advantages over sellers using the marketplace. According to regulators, the company has access to data on all purchases and could take advantage of them to get ahead of the competition.