Amazon cannot maintain Jassy, Bezos from testifying in FTC Prime probe

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos arrives for his assembly with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the UK diplomatic residence on September 20, 2021 in New York Metropolis.

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The Federal Commerce Fee late Wednesday rejected Amazon’s bid to exclude CEO Andy Jassy and founder Jeff Bezos from testifying in a probe into the retail large’s Prime program.

In an order written by Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson and made public on the FTC’s web site, the company dominated that Amazon hadn’t sufficiently proved that its schedule for the executives’ testimony could be unduly burdensome. Nonetheless, the company did enable for extra prep time earlier than they provide testimony.

“Amazon gives no cause why the Fee should settle for something lower than all of the related testimony it could actually get hold of from these two witnesses,” the order stated.

Amazon lodged a criticism in an August submitting, claiming that the FTC’s calls for for info and testimony by prime executives had been overly broad and burdensome. Amazon even accused FTC staff of harassing Bezos and Jassy for his or her participation.

Amazon stated the FTC “made issues worse” when it knowledgeable the corporate in June that the company was increasing the scope of its probe to incorporate different subscription packages, together with Audible, Amazon Music, Kindle Limitless and Subscribe & Save, based on the August submitting.

The FTC has been investigating sign-up and cancellation processes for Amazon’s Prime program since March 2021. The company is trying into whether or not Amazon deceives customers into signing up for Prime, whereas failing to offer a easy technique to cancel and keep away from recurring prices.

The Prime subscription program, which prices $139 a yr and contains perks like free delivery, now has some 200 million subscribers worldwide.

Amazon stated final month it has been complying with the FTC’s requests up to now, producing some 37,000 pages of paperwork.

Amazon has navigated a tough relationship with the FTC underneath Chair Lina Khan, who rose to prominence as a regulation scholar when she revealed “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” within the Yale Regulation Journal in 2017. The corporate sought Khan’s recusal from antitrust probes into its enterprise, citing her previous critiques of its energy.

Amazon gained some concessions from the FTC, like a limitation on “catch-all” calls for for info, which the fee stated it could modify. The FTC additionally laid out a protocol for scheduling future hearings and clarified that witnesses must be largely allowed to decide on their very own counsel, barring sure conflicts.

“We’re dissatisfied however unsurprised the FTC largely declined to rule towards itself, however we’re happy that the company walked backed its broadest requests and can enable witnesses to decide on their very own counsel,” an Amazon spokesperson stated in an announcement. “Amazon has cooperated with the FTC all through the investigation and already produced tens of hundreds of pages of paperwork. We’re dedicated to participating constructively with FTC employees, however we stay involved that the most recent requests are overly broad and needlessly burdensome, and we are going to discover all our choices.”

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