Amazon is once again facing accusations of unethical business practices, this time in India. An investigation based on internal documents reviewed by Reuters has revealed that the e-commerce giant has been copying products and manipulating search results to favor its own private brands in the Indian market.

The revelation has sparked bipartisan criticism from US lawmakers. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a vocal critic of Amazon, has called for the breakup of the company and a government probe into its actions. She argues that the documents provide evidence of Amazon’s willingness to manipulate its platform to benefit itself at the expense of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Representative Ken Buck, a Republican on the House antitrust subcommittee, has also criticized Amazon for its anti-competitive practices. He highlighted the discrepancy between the company’s actions and the testimony of its founder, Jeff Bezos, before Congress.

In response to the report, Amazon dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated and factually incorrect. The company maintains that its search results are based on relevance to the customer’s query. However, the internal documents reviewed by Reuters suggest otherwise, revealing how Amazon’s private-brands team in India exploited internal data to copy products from other companies and manipulate search results.

The accusations against Amazon have raised concerns among Indian retailers and startups. The Confederation of All India Traders has called for a government investigation into Amazon, accusing the company of creating significant disadvantages for small manufacturers. The Alliance of Digital India Foundation, representing Indian startups, has condemned Amazon’s practices and called on the Indian government to take action.

The controversy has even reached the political sphere, with a top official from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological parent organization calling for a boycott of Amazon. The official urged the people of India to stand against the company’s actions.

As the accusations against Amazon gain traction, it remains to be seen how the company will respond and what actions the Indian government will take. The allegations underscore the challenges faced by smaller businesses in the competitive e-commerce landscape and raise questions about Amazon’s commitment to fair practices in its quest for market dominance.

Useful links:
1. Bloomberg Quint
2. The New York Times