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Amazon Probed by U.S. Antitrust Officials Over Marketplace

The FTC is interviewing merchants to determine whether the e-commerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition.

Inside An Amazon.com Inc Fulfilment Center As It Prepares For Black Friday
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A team of Federal Trade Commission investigators has begun interviewing small businesses that sell products on Amazon.com Inc. to determine whether the e-commerce giant is using its market power to hurt competition.

Several attorneys and at least one economist have been conducting interviews that typically last about 90 minutes and cover a range of topics, according to three merchants. All were asked what percentage of revenue their businesses derive from Amazon versus other online marketplaces like Walmart Inc. and EBay Inc., suggesting regulators are skeptical about Amazon’s claims that shoppers and suppliers have real alternatives to the Seattle-based company. One merchant, Jaivin Karnani, said he was surprised the FTC returned his call the very next day.