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As Prime Day nears, will the feds rain on Amazon’s parade yet again?


The Federal Trade Commission’s most recent charges against Amazon.com Inc. coincided with the company’s announcement of its Prime Day dates. Will the agency seek to rain on the e-commerce giant’s parade once the actual event arrives?

The FTC is reportedly preparing a “far-reaching” suit against Amazon
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that would allege the company punished merchants that didn’t use its logistics services — and Beacon Policy Advisors analyst Owen Tedford recently explored whether that action from chair Lina Khan could be announced on Prime Day, which is scheduled to take place July 11 and 12.

“If the lawsuit is ready to go, it is possible that Khan could look to file it around Amazon’s upcoming Prime Day,” Tedford wrote in a report. The alignment of the FTC’s last set of charges with Amazon’s own announcement of Prime Day scheduling was “perhaps just an ironic twist of fate,” he said, but “if the suit is ready to go then there is a chance that lightning strikes twice and it begins to look less like a mere coincidence.”

In Tedford’s view, Khan seems to be aiming to get the suit filed before the FTC undergoes personnel changes in August, and ahead of what tends to be a sleepier month in Washington. If the agency doesn’t get the suit out by then, Khan may opt to wait until September.

See also: 4 reasons Amazon’s stock can keep soaring, according to one analyst who’s named it his top pick

Khan fired at Amazon in mid-June as the FTC charged the company with tricking consumers into automatically renewing their Prime subscriptions. Upcoming action could strike at the core of Amazon’s e-commerce business, according to Tedford. The FTC reportedly is looking into how the company determines which sellers get access to the so-called Buy Box, a button that’s seen as a crucial determiner of sales.

Read: Amazon allegedly duped people into subscribing to Prime and made it nearly impossible to cancel. Here’s how the feds say they did it.

“Khan has repeatedly expressed and shown through her actions that winning outright is not always her most important objective as she often is satisfied with incremental victories or just making a point,” he wrote. “Given this, no matter how difficult it may appear to emerge victorious on paper, expect Khan to look to push the case against Amazon to its limit and extract everything from the company that she can.”

Representatives from Amazon and the FTC declined to comment on Bloomberg’s report on the agency’s potential lawsuit when contacted by MarketWatch last week.

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