NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Holiday shopping is underway and that means finding online deals. However, the owners of some local small businesses worry an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon could end up hurting them.
The clock is ticking down to Cyber Monday deals that will push shoppers online for the latest finds; some small business owners are unsure of what’s to come after the feds accused Amazon of having a monopoly in a lawsuit.
“The minute I saw it drop I just felt like, ‘Oh my gosh. Here we go.’ All the sort of dominoes are going to start to fall, and this is going to become a difficult business to operate,” said Jason Burke, the owner of “The New Primal,” a business he started in 2012.
“I started on my kitchen counter 11 years ago making healthy meat snacks,” said Burke, whose business brings in a lot of sales coming from Amazon. “Today, I’m in 7,000 stores nationally and Amazon is probably my second or third-largest sales channel. I just worry about the impact of that on small businesses.”
The Federal Trade Commission claims Amazon used anti-competitive measures to punish sellers and deter online retailers from offering lower prices. Burke said he doesn’t trust the merit of the lawsuit and hopes this won’t negatively impact his future sales, especially as holiday shopping starts.
“These key moments and milestone dates are really, really important to us. I don’t know that the lawsuit will have a direct impact on this year’s Cyber Monday, but I certainly think it could have a big impact on next year’s Prime Days and cyber days.”
Amazon is also accused of prioritizing search results for its own products and coercing sellers to use its fulfillment service. News 2 reached out to Amazon for comment on the potential impacts of the lawsuit on the holiday shopping season.
Representatives sent a statement which reads in part:
“The practices the FTC is challenging have helped to spur competition and innovation across the retail industry, and have produced greater selection, lower prices, and faster delivery speeds for Amazon customers and greater opportunity for the many businesses that sell in Amazon’s store. If the FTC gets its way, the result would be fewer products to choose from, higher prices, slower deliveries for consumers, and reduced options for small businesses—the opposite of what antitrust law is designed to do. The lawsuit filed by the FTC today is wrong on the facts and the law, and we look forward to making that case in court.”
As the lawsuit plays out in court, Burke hopes small businesses won’t be left to deal with the consequences.
“I’m a small brand. I’m not the size of a Conagra or Kraft or General Mills…I worry that just the sheer cost of a lawsuit of this magnitude will drive up my cost of doing business on a platform like Amazon,” said Burke.