Amazon will let third party sellers charge lower prices elsewhere

Shoppers browsing Amazon may soon be able to get items, sold by third parties cheaper elsewhere. 

The e-commerce giant is reversing a rule that ensured it would have the lowest prices on products sold by those outside sellers, according to Axios, citing an unnamed person who was aware of the change.

Amazon did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the reported new policy.

The move could dampen criticism that Amazon’s requirements hinder competition. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote a letter to the Department of Justice in December asking it to launch an inquiry into how Amazon’s rule might be affecting other websites.

“I am deeply concerned that the price parity provisions in Amazon’s contracts with third party sellers could stifle market competition and artificially inflate prices on consumer goods that millions of Americans are planning to buy this holiday season,” Blumenthal wrote.

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Large tech companies like Amazon are under increased scrutiny, with critics charging that they are new monopolies. 

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, announced a plan last week aimed at breaking up companies like Amazon, which bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, Facebook, which owns Instagram, and Google.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power  –  too much power over our economy, our society and our democracy,” Warren said in an essay posted on the online blog site Medium. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.”

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