Federal Trade Commission building and sign (l) Jeff Bezos in suit on grey background (r)

Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock Tinseltown/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Amazon claims FTC is harassing Jeff Bezos by asking him to testify about Prime

Amazon confirmed an FTC investigation into Prime and called the asks from Bezos 'grossly unreasonable'

 

Jacob Seitz

Tech

Posted on Aug 16, 2022   Updated on Aug 16, 2022, 5:03 pm CDT

Amazon accused the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of harassing founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy by making “impossible-to-satisfy demands” during its investigation into Amazon Prime, according to a newly released filing.

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The FTC has been investigating Amazon Prime since March 2021 and is reportedly looking into the user interface on Amazon.com and how it may have manipulated customers into signing up for Prime. Amazon’s attorneys, in the filing, said that the company was facing “burdensome” demands from the FTC, which the sent subpoenas to 20 Amazon employees at their homes back in July.

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Business Insider first reported on the news of Amazon’s new filing.

Amazon requested that the FTC “quash or limit” the subpoenas that have been issued to Bezos and Jassy. 

“Staff’s demand that Mr. Bezos and Mr. Jassy testify at an IH (individual hearing) on an open-ended list of topics on which they have no unique knowledge is grossly unreasonable, unduly burdensome, and calculated to serve no other purpose than to harass Amazon’s highest-ranking executives and disrupt its business operations,” the filing said.

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The filing, originally from Aug. 5, confirms the investigation that has previously only been rumored. Amazon claims the FTC’s latest round of inquiries is becoming overly broad, and no longer focused just on Prime.

“The June 2022 [subpeona] is unworkable and unfair, reflecting less of a responsible effort to collect the facts about a variety of longstanding and highly popular subscription programs than a one-sided effort to force Amazon to meet impossible-to-satisfy demands,” the filing said. It “goes beyond Prime sign-up and cancellation to sweep in at least five additional subscription programs, each with their own unique facts, history, and personnel.”

Amazon’s attorneys said that Bezos’ testimony was unnecessary because the FTC has not identified a reason for him to speak on the matter, given the documentation it already provided

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Amazon said the FTC is pursuing three days of testimony in the subpoenas with “one on Amazon Prime cancellation, one on Amazon Prime enrollment, and one on ‘other topics,’” which includes four additional Amazon-operated programs and one third-party Amazon program. 

It remains to be seen how the FTC will respond to the filing, but the fight between Amazon and the FTC is gearing up to be a high-stakes one for FTC Chair Lina Khan. Amazon has already asked Khan to recuse herself from the case.


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*First Published: Aug 16, 2022, 5:02 pm CDT