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Amazon overcharges shoppers with Buy Box algorithm, fresh lawsuit claims

Two customers from the United States have taken legal action against Amazon, claiming that the company artificially inflates prices, resulting in financial harm to consumers. The lawsuit revolves around Amazon’s Buy Box feature, a prominent section on product pages that encourages users to add items directly to their carts. Within the Buy Box, Amazon displays the supplier of each item, which could be Amazon itself or a third-party vendor selected by Amazon’s algorithms.

The plaintiffs argue that this system is deceptive because it gives the impression that the price and shipping source shown in the Buy Box is the best option available, even though cheaper alternatives may exist from other sellers listed below. They allege that Amazon tends to prioritize its own products or those from third-party vendors participating in its Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program, overlooking cheaper options from non-FBA sellers.

According to the lawsuit, this practice leads consumers to overpay for items, as they assume that the Buy Box price is the most competitive. Sellers enrolled in the FBA program receive benefits such as free two-day shipping for Prime subscribers, giving them an advantage in visibility over non-FBA sellers.

The plaintiffs claim that Amazon’s actions violate Washington’s Consumer Protection Act by engaging in unfair competition and deceptive practices. They seek damages and a jury trial, urging other Amazon customers who have used the Buy Box since 2016 to join the lawsuit.

In a separate case in the UK, consumer-rights activist Julie Hunter has initiated legal proceedings against Amazon, seeking £900 million in damages.

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