Amazon Accuses FTC Staff Of Harassing Bezos

Amazon accused the Federal Trade Commission staff of taking “unusual and perplexing” measures in its investigation of the company’s Prime subscription business.

The FTC has been probing Amazon’s Prime business over concerns that it misleads how users sign up or cancel their Prime subscriptions. Insider reported in March on internal documents that showed “the company has been concerned since at least 2017 that user interface designs on Amazon.com have led customers to feel manipulated into signing up for Prime” but reportedly didn’t implement changes for fear they would negatively impact subscription growth.

An Amazon spokesperson at the time told Insider that Prime’s cancellation and sign-up process are “simple and transparent and clearly present customers with choices and the implications of those choices.”

Amazon is seeking to limit or quash civil investigative demands, similar to a subpoena, issued to the company and to individual current and former employees, according to the filing. It’s also seeking to quash CIDs issued to Bezos and Jassy, arguing staff has not given a legitimate reason for needing their testimony because it could obtain the same information it seeks elsewhere.

Lawyers for the company said in the filing that the FTC’s demand for Bezos and Jassy to testify at an investigational 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.”

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