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SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon will end its “Sold by Amazon” program after a Washington state attorney general’s investigation found it was anticompetitive and violated antitrust laws, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

The company engaged in illegal price-fixing and unreasonably restraining competition to maximize its own profits through the program that sets a minimum price for certain third-party products sold on the platform, according to the lawsuit and consent decree filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle. .

The Seattle Times reported that following the investigation, Amazon will end the nationwide program and pay $2.25 million to the attorney general’s office, along with annual updates on its compliance with laws. antitrust.

The funds will go to antitrust enforcement.

“Sold by Amazon” ran from 2018 to 2020, and the program did not include all third-party sellers on the e-commerce platform. The company characterized it as a small program offering another tool for businesses.

Under the program, third-party sellers entered into an agreement with Amazon that sets a minimum payment rate for products sold on the platform, according to the lawsuit. If sales exceeded the agreed minimum, Amazon would take a portion of the additional revenue.

The Times said an Amazon spokesperson whom the newspaper did not name said the company believes the program is legal and good for consumers. Amazon acted as a retailer and purchased products from vendors to fulfill customer orders, thereby ensuring low prices for consumers.

But Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation found the program boosted Amazon’s sales and ensured it didn’t have to compete with third-party sellers.

“Consumers lose when giants like Amazon set prices to boost their profits,” Ferguson said Wednesday.

Amazon generated $80.5 billion in third-party seller services in 2020, according to market and consumer data firm Statista. Third-party sales account for over 50% of all sales on Amazon.

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