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Amazon boycott news

Jun 24

Written by:
24/06/2016 09:49  RssIcon

From the latest issue of Ethical Consumer magazine


Trump Boycotts Amazon

Our Amazon boycott campaign may have found an alarming bed-fellow in US presidential candidate Donald Trump.

At the start of May the controversial Republican nominee told Fox News “Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise.” He added that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was using the Washington Post, which Bezos acquired in 2014, “for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed.”



Bezos later responded at an event held by the Washington Post by saying that he is “very, very comfortable with all of Amazon’s approaches and behaviours. The way we pay taxes, the political positions we take, are focused on our business and very appropriate.”

A war of words

The war of words started after it emerged that the Washington Post had assembled a 20-person team to investigate Donald Trump and his business practices.

“We need institutions that have the resources and the training and the skill, expertise, to find things,” Bezos said when the news emerged. “It’s pretty important who we elect as President, all those things, and we need to examine those people, try to understand them better.”

At the end of May, and with very little sense of the irony of its own position, the Post ran a story showing that last time Trump made his accounts public they showed he paid $0 in federal taxes.

The paper stated that “The disclosure, in a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators, revealed that Trump had for at least two years in the late 1970s taken advantage of a tax-code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income.” 

The Post reports that Trump’s personal taxes “are a mystery.” He has not released any recent returns, making it impossible to scrutinise what he pays and he would be the first major-party nominee in 40 years to not release his returns. Perhaps then he won’t be joining our boycott campaign just yet.



Illegal pond weed for sale on Amazon 

According to a report in the Guardian in May, Amazon were listing a banned invasive water plant species for sale on its market place, through a third party seller. The paper reported that until May Amazon sellers were advertising ‘Parrots Feather’ for sale to UK consumers. The aquatic weed was banned by the UK government as “they have destructively colonised rivers and waterways.” 

Andrew Wiseman, one of the UK’s leading environmental lawyers, told the Guardian that, in his opinion, Amazon had broken the law by hosting advertisements on their British websites. One seller was based in Latvia and importing the pond weed into the UK while a second was sold from a warehouse in the UK (although at the time of the original report this was out of stock. After being made aware of the potential legal breach, Amazon removed both of their listings for parrots feather.



Amazon excludes minorities and then backtracks

In May Amazon was forced to extend a free shipping offer after it was reported that the company had excluded minority neighbourhoods in several US cities from its Prime Free Same-Day Delivery service while extending the service to white neighbourhoods. 

An analysis by Bloomberg News in April highlighted apparent racial disparities in areas where the service was available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Washington, where black residents were less likely than white residents to have access to the service.

Amazon made a pledge to extend its offer of free delivery in all areas of the 27 cities where the offer was in place after a group of black politicians threatened to launch a federal investigation into the matter. 

According to Bloomberg, the Congressional Black Caucus, an organization which represents black members of Congress, had alerted Amazon that it was monitoring the situation and supported calls for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into the service boundaries.

“Very shortly, we will be expanding Prime Same Day Service to every zip code of the 27 cities where Prime Same Day delivery is currently launched,” Amazon said in the statement obtained by the caucus and shared with Bloomberg News. “We will not launch the service in any new regions until we are able to secure a carrier for every zip code.”

Amazon started its free same-day service last year as a perk of Amazon Prime membership. Service boundaries were determined by the concentration of Prime members in each area, proximity to warehouses where goods are stored and the company’s ability to find delivery partners to serve an area, according to Amazon, with race playing no role.



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