Amazon Accused of Illegally Raising Prices by Over $1 Billion with Project Nessie, FTC Lawsuit Exposes

Amazon Accused of Illegally Raising Prices by Over $1 Billion with Project Nessie, FTC Lawsuit Exposes

FTC Lawsuit Exposes Amazon's Secret Pricing Tool

The FTC’s allegations also include claims that Amazon monitored its sellers and punished them if they offered lower prices on other platforms, which, the agency contends, violates antitrust laws. The unredacted documents indicate that Amazon employed secret price gouging algorithms under Project Nessie, resulting in price increases exceeding $1 billion from 2016 to 2018. Furthermore, the “take rate,” denoting the amount Amazon receives from sellers using the Fulfillment By Amazon logistics program, rose from 27.6 percent in 2014 to 39.5 percent in 2018. Whether this percentage has changed in more recent years remains unclear as those figures remained redacted.

Amazon’s impact extends beyond its sellers’ experiences. The FTC’s complaint reveals the company’s intensified use of ads in search results. Several Amazon ad executives acknowledged that these sponsored ads often proved irrelevant to the initial search, causing “harm to consumers” and negatively affecting the overall site experience.