Apple and Amazon collaborated to increase prices for iPhones and iPads, by removing third-party Amazon sellers who sold Apple products at a lower price according to a fresh antitrust suit that was filed on Tuesday in Washington.
The complaint, filed by the Hagens Berman law firm, claims that Apple and Amazon have the benefit of an “unlawful horizontal agreement” that decreased to a minimum “competitive threat posed by third-party merchants,” which is a breach of the federal antitrust law. There were about 600 third-party sellers selling Apple gadgets in the Amazon Marketplace, which was cut down to just seven.
Amazon started getting rid of third-party sellers following the time it reached a deal in 2019 with Apple to restrict the number of retailers that can be found on the Amazon market to just 20 resellers per country. For this, Apple provided Amazon with discount wholesale prices on iPhones and tablets.
In limiting third-party sellers from selling Apple merchandise, Amazon made itself the largest retailer of Apple merchandise through Amazon Marketplace, which Amazon as well as Apple each “stood to benefit from” despite the fact that the restriction “would only harm the common users”
The suit claims in the lawsuit that, prior to signing the contract that third-party resellers offered “prices steeply discounted” from the ones Apple would like to use for its online storefront which led to lower prices for customers.
Hagens Berman hopes to win an injunction to stop Amazon from restricting third-party Apple resellers as well as reimbursements for customers with “overpaid for iPhones and iPads.”