Amazon lied about using seller data, lawmakers say, urging DOJ investigation

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Amazon lied to Congress about its use of third-party seller data, the House Judiciary Committee said today. In a letter to the Department of Justice, the committee chairs asked prosecutors to investigate the company for criminal obstruction of Congress.

“Amazon lied through a senior executive’s sworn testimony that Amazon did not use any of the troves of data it had collected on its third-party sellers to compete with them,” the letter says (emphasis in the original).

The committee said that not only was Amazon’s sworn testimony knowingly false but that repeated attempts to get Amazon to correct the record or to provide evidence to substantiate its claims were either rebuffed or ignored.

“Amazon has declined multiple opportunities to demonstrate with credible evidence that it made accurate and complete representations,” the letter says. “Amazon’s failure to correct or corroborate those representations suggests that Amazon and its executives have acted intentionally to improperly influence, obstruct, or impede the Committee’s investigation and inquiries.”
Amazon’s lawyers told lawmakers in subsequent communications that the company said that it had performed an internal investigation that didn’t find any evidence of employees misusing third-party seller data. Amazon also said that the site’s search engine didn’t prioritize its own products. Amazon’s attorneys refused to hand over documents related to the internal investigation.