(CTN News) – As part of a proposed U.S. class action lawsuit, Amazon.com is accused of violating a consumer protection law by steering hundreds of millions of shoppers to higher-priced items to earn additional fees.
Apparently, Amazon’s algorithm for selecting what appears in its “Buy Box” when shoppers search for products often ignores lower-priced options with faster delivery times, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday in federal court in Seattle.
Amazon has recently been sued by the United States government for antitrust violations.
As a result of the lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and 17 states, the FTC complaint stated that shoppers are clicking Amazon’s “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” buttons nearly 98% of the time and are often led to believe that has found the lowest price for their item.
The lawsuit alleges that developed the algorithm to benefit third-party sellers participating in Fulfillment by and paying “hefty fees” for inventory storage, packing and shipping, return services, etc.
As described in the complaint, Amazon’s Buy Box algorithm is ostensibly intended to identify the selection a consumer would make if they were able to consider all the offers that are available, but actually is designed to promote the company’s own profits at the expense of the consumer.
Amazon did not comment on this matter.
Jeffrey Taylor and Robert Selway, residents of California, filed the complaintthemselves.
It has been claimed by plaintiffs’ lawyer Steve Berman that over the past few years, Amazon has violated a state law which prohibits deceptive trade practices as a result of which customers are forced to bear a “great burden,” which may have a detrimental impact on business in the future, according to Steve Berman.
It should be noted that this case differs from other private lawsuits that have dealt with Amazon’s fulfillment program in that it focuses on the harm done to consumers because of deceptive practices rather than on antitrust violations or harm to sellers who do not participate in fulfillment program.
It is my understanding that a case called Taylor et al v Amazon.com Inc has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington with a case number of 24-00169.