Citing news reports, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat; David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat; Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat; Ken Buck, Colorado Republican; and Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, made the accusation in a letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.
“At best, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the committee,” the lawmakers wrote. It demonstrates, at worst, that they may have lied about Congress in violation of federal criminal code .”
The new scrutiny by the lawmakers is based upon Reuters’ allegations about Amazon using its website to sell its products. Reuters claimed that Amazon ran a “systematic campaign to create knockoff products and manipulate search results in order to increase its product lines in India
Amazon’s alleged decision to increase its products in India has been criticized by lawmakers. They claim that the company’s self-preferring is inconsistent with previous testimony from executives that Amazon’s algorithms show customers the products they are interested in buying.
Amazon rebutted claims that it misled lawmakers.
The lawmakers say Reuters’ claims contradict the testimony of Amazon executives, including Nate Sutton, Amazon associate general counsel, in 2019; former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2020; and Amazon Vice President Brian Huseman in 2020.
In an October 2019 email, the legislators claim that Mr. Sutton informed them that Amazon prohibits the use non-public seller-specific information to aid in the development of private brand products .”
The lawmakers received a letter from Mr. Bezos following a July 2020 Hearing. He said that Amazon policy “prohibits anonymized data, if connected to a single seller”, when deciding to launch private brand products .”
The lawmakers stated that in October 2020, Mr. Huseman testified that Amazon’s policy did not allow employees of private brands to examine the sales made by one seller .”
The lawmakers referred to these statements and threatened to ask Justice Department for a criminal investigation against Amazon.
” We strongly encourage you use this opportunity to correct your record and provide to the committee sworn, truthful and accurate answers to this request. As we review whether a referral of the matter to the Department of Justice to criminal investigation is appropriate, read the legislator’s letter.
“Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question,” said an Amazon spokesperson in a statement. “We have an internal policy which prohibits the use individual seller data to create Amazon private label products .”
, as we have stated previously. This policy goes beyond any other retailer’s that we are aware of.
The spokesperson for Amazon stated the company investigates any alleged violation of its policy. They also design their search experience to include items people are interested in purchasing, regardless of who is offering them.