I am currently involved in a discussion in some Internet forum. One aspect of this discussion is the question if the following situation is punishable (or a crime) in at least one US state:
There is some web site that offers some products sold by other persons or companies (you might think of Amazon or eBay). The web site operator takes a percentage of the price of the service as sales commission.
A vendor officially offers some expensive product (e.g. $1000) for a very low price (e.g. $20), but the product cannot be used without some "additional" service which is sold separately for a high price (e.g. $950) although it is actually worth nearly nothing.
The customer knows this and is happy because he must only pay $950 + $20 = $970 instead of $1000. The vendor saves a lot of sales provision because he officially sold the product for $20 instead of $1000.
The operator of the web site looses a lot of money because the vendor does not pay the "full" sales provision.
The question is:
Is the vendor liable to prosecution in some US state?