US Commission Probes Accusations Amazon Is Misleading On Discounts

Feds Looking Into Allegations Amazon Misleads Customers

It filed the complaint after looking at some as many as products on Amazon's website and finding that the online retailer put reference prices or list prices on 46 per cent of them.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and eleven other members of Congress are pushing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to scrutinize the potential impact of Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods more closely.

Consumer Watchdog conducted an analysis and reportedly found that 61 percent of offered items with reference prices - the purported cost of a product compared to a previously advertised price - were higher than a price for the same product in the prior three months.

The FTC is now looking into these allegations, according to a source close to the matter. It was not known if the agency would open a formal probe into the allegations.

When asked for a comment, Amazon said, "The conclusions the Consumer Watchdog group reached are flat out wrong". If that reference is made up, or the item never actually sells for that price, you can land yourself in some legal trouble.

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A report commissioned by the Consumer Watchdog and released in March, said Amazon's markdowns are not as generous as they appear. This is in addition to a basic investigation being conducted by the FTC to determine whether the merger between the two mammoth companies should be allowed. The group argues that this deceptive practice is ongoing, and that their conduct should cause the FTC to block the merger between Amazon and Whole Foods.

Amazon has for roughly a year now been removing some reference prices from display on the site.

In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson described the study to Retail Dive as "deeply flawed, based on incomplete data and improper assumptions".

On July 6, Consumer Watchdog warned consumers about Amazon's deceptive pricing practices and said that the company's dubious behavior meant its big promotion should be called 'Slime Day, ' and not "Prime Day". Amazon said in June that it would buy the premium grocer for $13.7 billion.

Amazon ran afoul of the FTC in 2014 for making it too easy for children to run up bills while playing games such as "Pet Shop Story" and "Ice Age Village" on mobile devices, resulting in an estimated $86 million of unauthorized charges.