Amazon Accuses the FTC of Harassing Founder Jeff Bezos

Amazon has submitted a legal filing accusing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of harassing current and former employees, including founder Jeff Bezos, in a bid to “disrupt business operations.”

The FTC is currently conducting an investigation into Amazon’s Prime membership program to establish whether Amazon uses a range of misleading tactics as part of the sign-up and cancellation processes.

As Business Insider reports(Opens in a new window), the 49-page legal filing(Opens in a new window) is in response to this investigation, which has been ongoing since March 2021. In particular, it focuses on subpoenas issued to individuals including founder Jeff Bezos, CEO Andy Jassy, former retail boss Dave Clark, his successor Doug Herrington, and former Prime VP Greg Greeley among others.

In all cases, Amazon believes the subpoenas are “unduly burdensome, and calculated to serve no other purpose than to harass Amazon’s highest-ranking executives and disrupt its business operations,” and requests they be quashed. The filing also raises questions over why the investigation has been expanded to non-Prime subscription services such as Audible, Amazon Music, Kindle Unlimited, and Subscribe & Save.

Other questions raised in the filing point to the FTC blocking Amazon employees from accessing legal representation by Covington & Burling, claiming it was “improper” for them to use the same law firm as Amazon. The FTC is also accused of intentionally dragging out the process while at the same time telling Amazon there is “tremendous pressure” to conclude the case by this fall.

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The filing was submitted on Aug. 5 and made public by the FTC on Monday. It will certainly do nothing to improve the relationship between Amazon and the FTC, but according to the Financial Times(Opens in a new window), it will at least result in Amazon’s requests being subject to a vote by the FTC commissioners.

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