FTC Rejects Amazon’s Request to Quash Subpoenas Served to Top Execs
- The FTC has rejected Amazon’s request to drop subpoenas issued to executives including founder Jeff Bezos.
- The FTC is investigating Amazon Prime’s sign-up and cancellation process.
- It said Amazon’s failure to establish the subpoena “adequately” “brought an undue burden.”
The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Amazon’s request to drop or restrict subpoenas issued to Amazon executives, including founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy, stems from the agency’s investigation into the Prime registration process.
The FTC’s investigation revolves around Amazon’s alleged misleading tactics around its sign-up and cancellation process for Prime and other subscription services.in a previous archive, Amazon revealed that some of its executives, including founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy, were subpoenaed as part of the investigation. At the time, Amazon argued that the FTC should reject the practice, citing an “unfeasible and unfair” process that “wouldn’t meet the requirements.”
in a New legal filings Wednesday night, the FTC wrote that Amazon should “fully comply” with the commission’s original subpoena, formally known as the Civil Investigation Demand (CID), by Oct. 7. It also states that all individual petitioners who receive a CID should “comply with and provide specified testimony” on or before January 20, 2023.
“We do not accept that CIDs issued to companies or personal witnesses that Amazon has sufficiently determined are unduly burdensome in scope or timing, and we refuse to restrict CIDs on these grounds,” the FTC filed Wednesday.
In an email to Insider, an Amazon spokesperson said the company still considers the latest request an “unnecessary burden” and will continue to pursue other options.
“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the FTC has largely declined to rule on itself, but we are pleased that the agency has withdrawn its broadest request and allowed Witnesses choose their own attorneys.” “Amazon has cooperated with the FTC throughout the investigation and has produced tens of thousands of pages of documentation. We are committed to engaging constructively with FTC staff, but we remain concerned that the latest request is too broad. and unnecessary burden, we will explore all our options.”
The FTC also told committee staff to propose two testimonial dates for each witness within two business days of the order Wednesday. Each petition will be selected from these options within four business days of the order. All CID-related investigative hearings will be held in Washington, D.C. or Seattle, the filing said.
The filing broadly cites Insider’s March story, which first reported Amazon’s internal deliberations on the Prime sign-up and cancellation process. The report shows how Amazon has deliberately tricked people into signing up for Prime subscriptions for years, even after employees raised concerns about growing customer complaints.
In a separate filing Wednesday, the FTC mentioned its concern that Amazon could “extend the discovery” of material relevant to its investigation. One question that has been raised before is whether certain Amazon employees will be allowed to use the same law firm that represents Amazon.
“We believe it may be necessary to consider amending the Commission’s Part II rules of investigative practice to address game play and delay tactics that could hinder key investigations,” the FTC wrote.
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