It’s a rare instance to witness such a David and Goliath story as the recent legal victory of an online merchant against Amazon. After being booted off the platform due to suspicion of selling counterfeit tech, the unnamed merchant took the e-commerce giant to court – getting granted half a million dollars in restitution!
Arbitration reports show the company withdrawing $80,000 from the merchant’s account as well as 50,000 products being taken from his inventory. When asked for these items to be returned, Amazon left the merchant in the dark.
Determined for action to be taken, the anonymous seller waged an 18-month legal battle against the company – costing him $200,000 in expenses.Peter Brown, the mediator for the case, ruled in favor of the plaintiff due to Amazon’s egregious actions that transpired during the merchant’s suspension.
“I would hope that in the future,” Brown explains to Bloomberg News, “it (Amazon) will devote the resources necessary to treat all of its sellers with respect and some semblance of due process.”
With this victory, the merchant looks into building a new business with his restitution reward. Though he still holds resentment towards the platform and the system that manipulated him.While his story worked in the merchant’s favor, it’s quite the outlier as most online sellers are left helpless under the grip of Big Tech. The company has been the subject of numerous antitrust investigations under the notion of its higher-ups misusing their power.
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According to CNBC, antitrust investigations have led Democratic Congress members to the belief that “the four businesses (Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google) enjoy monopoly power that needs to be reined in by Congress and enforcers.”
The Investigation of Competition in Digital Market, a whopping 450-page staff report by Democrats, proposed recommendations for mending this problem such as imposing structural separations within e-commerce. These proposals received much backlash from the Republican Party.
A prominent figure in this debate is the president of home goods shop OJ Commerce, Jacob Weiss. Weiss looked to Amazon to distribute his products because of its powerhouse market presence but found himself having to sign an arbitration clause. This prohibits him and thousands of other merchant’s from taking the company to court. After spending $50,000 for the clause, Weiss has yet to be reimbursed for his losses.
In February, Weiss spoke in from of the House Judiciary subcommittee to list out his and countless other merchant’s strides with Amazon. “The system is rigged against small- to mid-sized online business owners.”
While consumers enjoy the convenience of the online market, more and more of Big Tech’s tactics are becoming unveiled. Cases like the unnamed merchant shine awareness to the unseen mistreatment of small companies. As more stories emerge, we may see Congress making changes to the way these commerce moguls do business.
Sources: Bloomberg, CNBC
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