WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers pressed Amazon’s chief government on Monday to answer allegations that its executives offered a congressional inquiry with false solutions to questions on its house-brand merchandise.
Amazon executives, together with its founder, Jeff Bezos, informed lawmakers that the corporate didn’t take a look at knowledge from single sellers on its web site when it deliberate for and developed its personal merchandise. In addition they informed the Home Judiciary Committee that the corporate didn’t purposefully give its house-brand merchandise an edge in search outcomes.
Final week, Reuters reported that Amazon had strategically copied merchandise from third-party retailers whereas rising its enterprise in India. One other publication, The Markup, reported a day later that the corporate’s house-brand merchandise ranked greater than opponents offered by retailers, even when the third-party merchandise had higher scores.
“At greatest, this reporting confirms that Amazon’s representatives misled the committee,” stated the group of 5 lawmakers. “At worst, it demonstrates that they could have lied to Congress in attainable violation of federal felony legislation.”
Within the letter, the lawmakers stated they have been contemplating referring the matter to the Justice Division for a possible felony investigation. Their exchanges with Amazon got here as a part of an extended investigation into the market energy of the nation’s largest tech firms.
“Amazon and its executives didn’t mislead the committee, and we have now denied and sought to right the report on the incorrect media articles in query,” stated Brooke Oberwetter, an Amazon spokeswoman.
She stated that the corporate had a coverage in opposition to utilizing knowledge from particular person retailers in constructing house-brand merchandise and that Amazon’s search outcomes function “the gadgets clients will wish to buy, no matter whether or not they’re supplied by Amazon or certainly one of our promoting companions.”