Amazon management urges sellers to oppose antitrust law

Amazon is so worried about potential antitrust reforms unfolding in Congress that a top executive recently tried to pressure third-party sellers on an online forum they use to chat with each other about hot topics.

But the effort appears to have backfired as many sellers disputed Amazon’s argument and said they intended to support legislation to overhaul U.S. antitrust laws and harness the power of big tech.

Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s VP of Global Seller Partner Services, posted a post Thursday on the Amazon Seller Central Forum. He urged marketers to contact their local senator to oppose legislation called the American Online Innovation and Choice Act (S.2992), which was passed by a Senate committee in January and could be passed this summer.

“As we noted in previous communications over the past year, Congress is considering legislation, including S.2992, the U.S. Online Innovation and Choice Act, that could jeopardize Amazon’s ability to manage marketplace services and therefore your company’s ability to sell online. our store,” Mehta wrote. “Recent public comments from Senate leaders indicate that they intend to vote for S.2992 later this month. I want to make sure you are aware of this legislation and what you can do to prevent harm from happening to you.

Mehta then directed Amazon sellers to a website that has a form they can use to contact their senator. The page is filled with a pre-written email against the law and states that filling out the form “will take less than two minutes of your time.”

Hundreds of sellers responded to Mehta’s message, many of whom were unconvinced by Amazon and vowed to support the law. Third-party sellers, which account for more than half of Amazon’s retail volume, have become increasingly frustrated in recent years with the costs they pay to maintain a good reputation, the amounts Amazon charges them for advertising, and Amazon’s inability to rid the market of fraud. . and bad actors.

“Yes, I would object to Amazon being banned from undercutting, manipulating the buying field and imposing limits on certain listings that unfairly prevent me from selling a product,” wrote one commenter. “Yes, I am writing to my senator right now. »

Another wrote that “any informed seller will support the massive antitrust action taken against Amazon. Personally, I’m sick of the condescending messages from Amazon’s management towards us. We are not morons and we can read and think for ourselves. ”

Amazon has strongly opposed the bill, which would prevent it and other tech companies from giving benefits to their companies on its platform. In August, Amazon emailed sellers and set up a website to educate them about the legislation and warn them that it could harm their business.

Last week, Amazon published a blog post saying the legislation would jeopardize “the two things American consumers love most about Amazon: huge selection and low prices,” as well as its Prime’s two-way shipping.

The company said the bill unfairly targets Amazon by requiring companies to have a market capitalization of more than $550 billion in order to be regulated. Amazon said it was excluding “thousands of other retailers” such as Walmart, Target and Costco.

Not all responses to Mehta’s post were oppositional. One commenter said the proposed law could harm sellers simply by hurting Amazon.

“I can’t predict the future, and neither can a big gang secret in Washington,” the person wrote. “I can tell you that this account is bad news for Amazon, bad news for Amazon customers, and if you think this doesn’t mean bad news for sellers, then you shouldn’t be a third-party seller. »

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