Amazon sued in class action for breach of contract regarding free shipping

February 26, 2014 by

amazon-logoA subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc. has been named in a class action lawsuit accusing the company of encouraging third-party vendors to raise the prices of their products by the amount they would have charged for shipping and deceiving customers into believing they were receiving free shipping.

In his lawsuit, plaintiff Cemal Ekin says he paid $79 per year for an Amazon Prime membership mainly to obtain free shipping. However, he says that third-party vendors are told to raise their prices to cover shipping costs, causing Prime members to pay inflated prices for products despite Amazon’s free shipping guarantee.

Ekin says Amazon encourages Fulfillment by Amazon FBA vendors to list items for sale as Prime Eligible. However, Ekin alleges “Amazon advised FBA Vendors to include the amount they would have charged for shipping in their item prices in order to maximize total revenue and profit margins.” Ekin claims that “Amazon disguised this price increase by giving priority to FBA Vendors, showing their items first in the results of a Prime Member’s product search.”

Ekin argues that Amazon’s practice breaches its contract with Prime members and is contrary to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines.  The case is Dr. A. Cemal Ekin vs. Amazon Services LLC, case number 2:14-cv-00244, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Keith Dubanevich
Keith is an accomplished trial, appellate, and healthcare lawyer with over 30 years of experience in more than a dozen different jurisdictions around the country. With a focus on complex dispute resolution, with particular emphasis in the healthcare industry, Keith is adept at handling multi-state and internal antitrust cases, consumer litigation, and securities disputes. In healthcare, he has handled peer review disputes, partnership and incorporation matters, and billing investigations. Keith has led internal investigations for public entities as well as for not-for-profit organizations. Keith's clients value his keen instincts in court and his ability to delve into complex legal issues while never losing sight of the overall strategy of a case. During his time at the Oregon Department of Justice as Associate Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Keith led the creation of a civil rights unit, managed securities litigation including multiple cases against financial services companies, and supervised antitrust investigations and prosecutions. He was also involved with the adoption of legislation that expanded the Unlawful Trade Practices Act and legislation that imposed a mediation requirement prior to non-judicial foreclosures.

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