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FTC SAID TO PROBE AMAZON PRICING — The FTC has made preliminary inquiries into how Amazon handles its pricing, Reuters reports. According to the reporting, those investigatory moves are in response to a complaint from the Santa Monica-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which earlier this month issued a report (tagline: "Amazon Prime? Or Amazon Slime?") arguing the Jeff Bezos-led retailer inflated base prices on items on its site to exaggerate customers' savings. Amazon has for its part has condemned Consumer Watchdog's findings as, per Reuters, "flat out wrong." Any possible FTC misgivings about the online retail giant's competitive practices are, of course, of heightened importance given that Amazon is planning to buy Whole Foods, in a deal priced at $13.4 billion — a transaction that may well require sign-off from federal regulators. An FTC spokesperson said that the agency had no comment on the topic.

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