FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple's Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Last year, Apple began selling many of its products on Amazon, including the latest iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch models. As part of Apple's agreement with Amazon, unauthorized resellers who offered new or refurbished Apple products on Amazon had their listings removed after January 4, 2019.


    Since then, independent sellers have been required to apply for Apple Authorized Reseller status and the Amazon Renewed program to continue to offer used or refurbished Apple products on Amazon, but this is not always feasible due to hefty requirements outlined by The Verge earlier this year:
    Now, The Verge reports that the FTC has looked into the Apple-Amazon deal, although it has yet to formally raise any antitrust concerns.

    Specifically, the report claims that FTC lawyers recently reached out to John Bumstead, a Minnesota man who sold refurbished MacBooks on Amazon until his listings were removed from the platform due to the new policy:
    Bumstead has been vocal since being squeezed out of Amazon, arguing that a significant number of lower-cost refurbished or used Apple products are no longer available through Amazon, reducing choice for consumers. Apple would likely argue that it is cutting down on the availability of counterfeit products to protect consumers, although it has not officially commented on the deal since it went into effect.

    The Verge claims that "experts say the Apple-Amazon deal could easily be grounds for an antitrust complaint," citing Sally Hubbard, the director of enforcement strategy at the OpenMarkets Institute:
    Whether the FTC shares that view and/or takes action remains to be seen.

    Article Link: FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple's Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers
  2. DrJohnnyN Suspended


    Jan 27, 2010
    People buy Apple products on Amazon? B&H has better deals, correct?
  3. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Shady, thought Apple stayed away from such practices.
  4. Fidgetyrat macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2008
    I personally try to use amazon as much as possible for a few reasons; Their return policies are fantastic, some stuff even arrives within 24-hours, and I get 5% pack on purchases with my Amazon visa.
  5. macfacts macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2012
    So many problems with iPhones, there's at least $2.5 million worth of iPhones returned every 3 months.
  6. DrJohnnyN Suspended


    Jan 27, 2010
    You use Amazon for Apple purchases? I use Amazon religiously, just not for Apple gear.
  7. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    The price of pushing the counterfeiters out.

    When Amazon was full of them, pushing the "legit" small business resellers out, people wanted Apple to do something.

    What were they supposed to do? Hand-vetting every single Amazon listing?

    "You're legit, you're legit, you're legit and you're legit. You are not. Out."

    People can still sell through their individual websites. They just can't sell through Amazon.

    I assume, any brick-n-mortar mall in the US probably has similar rules and you can't sue yourself into a mall, can you?
  8. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
    And just last week the news was saying Apple is more-or-less safe from the FTC. Sorry, but all tech will be looked at, I don’t think they weren’t clear.

    We’ll find out soon what happens to the tech companies.
  9. realtuner macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2019
    At $750 per iPhone (ASP) that’s only 3,333 iPhones per 90 days. I don’t know how many large resellers there are on Amazon but let’s say there are 100 who hit that $2.5 million target. That’s 333,333 iPhones every 90 days. Using Apple’s worst quarter of the year that still comes out to less than 1% of iPhone sales. This is also substantially below consumer electronics return rates.

    Seems like the problem is with your math, not with iPhones.
  10. StevieD100 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2014
    Living Dangerously in Retirement
    Yeah but B&H and Adorama operate in North America. Amazon is worldwide.
    There are NO discounts to be had on Apple kit here.
    Oh, and a lot of what Amazon seems to sell are veritable 'bin-ends' i.e old in terms of ave but new/unused.
    If I was buying something and the Amazon offer was the same price inc delivery as Apple then I'd buy it from Apple.
    In my eyes, Amazon is in business to drive other retailers to the wall (IMHO)
  11. lenard macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2007
    Raleigh NC
    Your source for that information?
  12. iMerik, Aug 2, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019

    iMerik macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2011
    Upper Midwest
    I get why resellers are complaining, but I also think think brand protection is the primary motivator for Apple in this case. It's common for people to have eBay-like bad experiences when purchasing from Amazon third-party sellers, and I don't think consumers always realize that the "good price" they are getting on an Apple device from Amazon is coming from a third party like they might more obviously realize from eBay.

    A good non-Apple example of this is shopping for Ubiquiti UniFi devices on Amazon. The contrast is drastically apparent between what you'll find on Amazon through third parties and what you'll find from an authorized seller like BHPhoto. Amazon becomes a "shop at your own risk" experience, which consumers might not realize, again, like they might if they go looking on eBay. I wouldn't be surprised if a company like Ubiquiti isn't always thinking it would be nice to set up an arrangement with Amazon like Apple has done.
  13. realtuner macrumors 65816


    Mar 8, 2019
    It was reported sellers have moved over to Walmart, eBay or Etsy.

    So where’s the antitrust issue? Amazon is not the only online marketplace and sellers have many choices where to sell their goods.
  14. cylack macrumors regular


    Feb 21, 2006
    McAllen, TX
    Apple should be sued for antitrust. Before I was able to sell used Macbooks on Amazon with no problems. Now I can't since I don't meet the volume requirements. There is no concern about counterfeit Macbooks on Amazon as it would be a very difficult product to counterfeit. This is pure greed on Apple's part.
  15. ck2875 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    Wasn’t the original issue here that third party sellers were selling the knockoff accessories like charging cables as genuine? I seem to remember Apple didn’t want to be on Amazon if Amazon wasn’t going to put a stop to the counterfeit items being sold as genuine and Amazon pulled the plug on the third party retailers as a result.
  16. MacLawyer macrumors demi-god


    Aug 1, 2009
    Yeah, despite being a huge Apple fan this looks smelly and unfair.
  17. SDJim macrumors member


    Aug 4, 2017
    San Diego, CA
    I see both sides here. There were a LOT of counterfeit and falsely advertised products on Amazon before this, and there are still some that have popped back up, really screwing people over. Remember, not everything is Prime, so buyers end up getting the shaft sometimes with these shady sellers. On the other hand, this is certainly anticompetitive, although only on this one marketplace (there are dozens of others). I am inclined to agree somewhat with MRainer:

  18. Valen1 macrumors newbie


    Aug 22, 2018
    Seriously the TFC is worried about this, but approves true predatory monopolies like Verison and Comcast? Unreal. Apple is not the only manufacturer of the products they sell. There are like products available, but those of us stuck in a FTC created Internet monopoly that is OK?
  19. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    So I’m curious, does anyone have a right to sell products on Amazon? What are the laws around this?
  20. Kaibelf Suspended


    Apr 29, 2009
    Silicon Valley, CA
    What are you talking about? Apple has ALWAYS required reseller to be authorized, much like Cisco, HP, MS, and everyone else. And they keep that list tight and exclusive to those who put in the effort to properly message and focus on moving their products, with certain expectations and milestones. There's nothing "shady" about it. Some brands have no thresholds, and Apple's are a little higher but not THAT high in the grand scheme. You don't just have a magical right to say "I'm an Apple authorized partner" if you sell 1 iPad a year. That dilutes their brand.

    As for the lie (and is IS a lie) in the quote in the article, the requirements to become an Apple reseller are not hard to get or hidden from the public. You only need to ask and they send them to you. Just because people are so LAZY that they don't see it posted on a website doesn't mean Apple is hiding anything. Pick up a phone or ask an Apple channel rep. It's not hard, and the requirements are standard. I know this because I worked at an AUTHORIZED Apple reseller, and saw the whole process myself.
  21. sub150 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2018
    Well, I'm assuming Wal Mart vets every vendor that they resell. Apple has a review process for their apps.

    I'm not sure why Amazon shouldn't have to review vendors that resell through them, particularly ones selling items approaching or exceeding $1,000.

    If you are going to create a beast of a revenue machine, you should have the tools in place to vet the products you are selling.

    THE CORE of the issue is Amazon's review system comingles all sellers of any item. This is where eBay is much different (and better).

    **** amazon, I quit using them and don't miss it at all. I buy less stuff now and don't have to deal with **** products.
  22. laz232 macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2016
    At a café near you
    Monopoly regulations are to prevent unfair misuse of a market position - nothing to do with "rights" to sell. See AMD Intel suit:
    AMD has claimed that Intel engaged in unfair competition by offering rebates to Japanese PC manufacturers who agreed to eliminate or limit purchases of microprocessors made by AMD

    Sure you could buy AMD, but you would't get a good deal on Intel CPUs - and that is monopolistic abuse.

    In this case I think it could be seen as collusion between Apple and Amazon to further eachothers market share - and thus it's not necessary to prove a "right to sell", but rather to show that this prevents a fair and open market.

  23. Kaibelf Suspended


    Apr 29, 2009
    Silicon Valley, CA
    So you were not an authorized reseller then, and were not in compliance with Apple's programs. Why does Amazon owe you a spot in their store?
  24. sofila macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2006
    Ramtop Mountains
    Apple & Amazon: worldwide sellers. B&H: no. A tip: there's life beyond US borders.
  25. cube macrumors P6

    May 10, 2004
    Why would you need to be authorized by Apple to sell used Macs?

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