Following a report by The Wall Street Journal that alleged the online retail giant's staff were able to access sales data from independent sellers on Marketplace so they could sell their own rival products, the CEO told Rep. Pramila Jayapal at Wednesday's (07.29.20) antitrust hearing that the policy may have been breached and that they are investigating this.
Jayapal said: "Let me ask you, Mr. Bezos, does Amazon ever access and use seller data when making business decisions?"
To which Bezos replied: "I can't guarantee you that that policy has never been violated.
"We continue to look into that very carefully. I'm not yet satisfied that we've gotten to the bottom of it, and we're going to keep looking at it. It's not as easy to do as you would think because some of the sources in the article are anonymous."
Jayapal then stated that: "The committee has interviewed employees that say these breaches typically occur."
Amazon allows aggregate data but not seller data.
However, Jaypal argued that aggregate data is still "detailed data".
She concluded: "So you can set the rules of the game for your competitors, but not actually follow those same rules for yourself."
Amazon had previously denied to Congress that they use sales data of sellers.
Rep. Lucy McBath then called out Bezos over Amazon allegedly being able to "systematically block" sellers from selling certain items.
Once again he rebuked this claim, and said: "I do not think that's systematically what's going on.
"Third-party sellers in aggregate are doing extremely well on Amazon."
Nate Sutton, Amazon's associate general counsel, said at a hearing this time last year: "Our incentive is to help the seller succeed because we rely on them.
"They have many options. So we apply the same criteria to both and we do not use their individual data when we're making decisions to launch private brands."