FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple’s Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers

Last 12 months, Apple started promoting many of its merchandise on Amazon, together with the newest iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch fashions. As half of Apple’s settlement with Amazon, unauthorized resellers who provided new or refurbished Apple merchandise on Amazon had their listings eliminated after January 4, 2019.

FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple's Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers 1
Since then, unbiased sellers have been required to use for Apple Authorized Reseller standing and the Amazon Renewed program to proceed to supply used or refurbished Apple merchandise on Amazon, however this isn’t all the time possible as a result of hefty necessities outlined by The Verge earlier this 12 months:

The first is to buy no less than $2.5 million price of refurbished stock each 90 days from Apple itself or by means of a retailer with greater than $5 billion in annual gross sales, like a wi-fi service or big-box retailers like Target or Walmart. The second is to achieve out on to Apple to develop into a licensed reseller. Apple has but to make its reseller necessities identified to the general public, however to develop into an Apple-authorized supplier of repairs requires a bodily retail house for purchasers to enter.

Now, The Verge stories that the FTC has seemed into the Apple-Amazon deal, though it has but to formally increase any antitrust issues.

Specifically, the report claims that FTC attorneys not too long ago reached out to John Bumstead, a Minnesota man who bought refurbished MacBooks on Amazon till his listings have been faraway from the platform because of the new coverage:

“They wanted to know how Amazon works, how eBay works. I went into describing how a listing works on Amazon. Amazon is interesting in that you don’t necessarily create a listing. You just sort of tag on to an existing listing,” Bumstead tells The Verge. “If that listing gets deleted, chances are you’re not allowed to sell that product. That’s how Amazon did this. They created a bunch of renewed listings from the people who were certified, and they let those people sell on those listings, and they abandoned everyone else.”

Bumstead has been vocal since being squeezed out of Amazon, arguing {that a} important quantity of lower-cost refurbished or used Apple merchandise are not out there by means of Amazon, lowering selection for customers. Apple would seemingly argue that it’s reducing down on the provision of counterfeit merchandise to guard customers, though it has not formally commented on the deal because it went into impact.

The Verge claims that “experts say the Apple-Amazon deal could easily be grounds for an antitrust complaint,” citing Sally Hubbard, the director of enforcement technique on the OpenMarkets Institute:

“You put a gate around the brand and say all the third-party sellers of whatever that brand is get a notice saying you can no longer sell this product on our platform unless you get authorization from the brand,” Hubbard tells The Verge. “But of course the brand is not going to let you sell if you’re under the [minimum advertised price]. Problem is that it’s illegal under antitrust law.”

Whether the FTC shares…


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