The US FTC has ordered Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy to testify in an Amazon Prime investigation

The US FTC has ordered Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy to testify in an Amazon Prime investigation ...

Federal authorities have ordered Amazon''s founder Jeff Bezos and CEO Andy Jassy to testify in the government''s investigation of Amazon Prime, ignoring the company''s claim that executives are unfairly harassed in the investigation of the popular streaming and shopping service.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a motion late Wednesday denying Amazon''s request to halt civil subpoenas sent in June to Bezos, the Seattle-based company''s former CEO, and Jassy. The order also set a deadline of January 20 for all testimony by Bezos, Jassy, and 15 other senior executives, who also were subpoenaed.

In July 2021, Jassy took over the helm of Bezos, an online retailer and technology company. Bezos is the world''s richest person.

In the order on behalf of the agency, Amazon hasn''t ruled out that the subpoenas pose excessive charges in terms of scope or timing. However, the Federal Trade Commission approved to modify some provisions of the subpoenas, which it claimed was too broad.

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Amazon Prime''s sign-up and cancellation policies since March 2021, which now has around 200 million members.

The firm said it was dissatisfied but not surprised that the Federal Trade Commission majority voted in favor of its own position, but it was pleased that the agency backed its most extensive requests in the subpoenas.

  • Amazon Great Indian Festival Sale: Live Updates

Amazon demonstrates how it conducted the investigation, and has already produced tens of thousands of documents. "We are committed to engaging constructively with FTC personnel, but we remain concerned that the most recent requests are too broad and needlessly burdensome, and we will investigate all of them."

In a petition to the Federal Trade Commission filed last month, the company objected to the subpoenas to Bezos and Jassy, alleging that the agency has identified no legitimate reason for inciting their testimony when it can obtain the same information, and more, from other witnesses and documents. Amazon said the federal government was hounding Bezos, Jassy, and the other executives, and criticizing the allegations as excessively complex.

The investigation has expanded to include at least four other Amazon-owned subscription programs: Audible, Amazon Music, Kindle Unlimited, and Subscribe & Save, as well as an unidentified third-party program not offered by Amazon. The regulators have asked the company to identify the number of consumers who were enrolled in the programs without giving their consent, among other customer information.

Amazon Prime, which has an estimated 150 million US subscribers, is a key source of revenue as well as a wealth of customer data. This year, Amazon Prime has acquired exclusive video rights to the NFL''s Thursday Night Football.

Lina Khan, the FTC chairman, was unsuccessfully asked for her to take over from separate antitrust investigations into its business, claiming that her public criticism of the company''s market power before she became an antitrust advocate makes it unjust for her. Khan arrived on the antitrust scene in 2017, writing an influential study entitled Amazon''s Antitrust Paradox when she was a Yale law student.