Apple and Amazon are being charged with fixing the market to keep the price of the iPhone and iPad high in a new antitrust lawsuit, despite the fact that Apple products are already very expensive. In order to unfairly lessen or eliminate competition from third-party merchants on the Amazon Marketplace, it is alleged that the two parties illegally conspired.
The class-action lawsuit was proposed by the law firm Hagens Berman, which has already been successful in settling other cases involving Apple for over $500 million.
According to Hagens Berman, Amazon and Apple signed a contract in 2019 that permitted Apple to restrict the number of resellers on the Amazon Marketplace while Amazon continued to receive iPhones and iPads at a discounted wholesale price, allowing it to unfairly dominate the market. There were over 600 iPhone and iPad resellers before this agreement, but there were only seven left after it, a drastic 98% decrease. Even though it started out as a small player, Amazon quickly rose to become the preferred reseller of Apple products.
Both parties have not denied the existence of this agreement, Hagens Berman has emphasized. In earlier hearings with the US Congress, Amazon even acknowledged its existence. Hagens Berman’s managing partner, Steve Berman, stated:
Our antitrust trial team quickly identified several issues when reviewing the data supporting this lawsuit. It is truly unheard of for a product to suddenly lose 98% of its sellers, especially when that product is made by the biggest tech company in the world and is marketed by the biggest retailer in the world. This anti-competitive arrangement benefited both Apple and Amazon, and they agreed to it knowing that it would hurt the general public.
[…] Consumers, who were caught off guard by the price increases, were the only losers when Apple and Amazon renewed their existing reseller agreement in 2019. Consumers are now locked into Apple’s premium pricing, where previously they could find discounts of up to 20% on iPhones and iPads for sale on Amazon Marketplace.
More information about the class action lawsuit, including information about how to join it and find out if you qualify for compensation, can be found here.