Now, with a robust record in place, retailers believe the Commissioners should take the next step with investigations and actions against companies impeding free market competition and/or deliberately deceiving consumers. In comments submitted to the FTC this week, RILA argued the digital revolution in retail requires new thinking and approaches to antitrust enforcement and consumer protection.
Leading retailers believe the FTC has a responsibility to protect consumers by ensuring that competition exists throughout the retail ecosystem. RILA’s comments were filed, not to complain about competition from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Visa, or any other technology or payments platform, but to ask for more competition. New approaches are necessary to ensure that access to information empowers, rather than manipulates, consumers as they navigate an economy dominated by a handful of giant tech platforms.
Modern antitrust investigation and enforcement needs to be driven by a greater recognition that control over information can drive anti-competitive effects just as much as market power and price control. The Commission should consider rules or enforcement actions requiring such bottleneck technology platforms to convey information to consumers in ways that are transparent and do not mislead consumers about where products come from, whether they are new or used, whether their sale by a given retailer is authorized, and how the total prices from one seller compares to the prices charged by others.
RILA stands ready to work with the Commission on this ambitious review of competition and consumer protection in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
Read our complete comments submitted to the FTC here.
For more information about RILA’s competition policy work, please contact RILA Vice President of Innovation Nicholas Ahrens.