In April, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reported that it had upheld complaints that some Amazon Adverts were misleading and unsubstantiated.
ASA went on to ban 4 adverts that were placed for electronic devices. They said that they had been “misleading” over potential savings.
All the adverts were run in July 2017 and apparently ‘highlighted’ savings of £300 when compared to recommended retail prices (RRPs).
Amazon admitted one advert was an “error” but said the other RRPs were in line with listings on other sites.
The adverts in question said that savings could be made of £220 on an LG smart TV, £193 on a ViewSonic monitor, £300 on an MSI laptop and £185 on a Philips electronic toothbrush.
Amazon admitted the saving for the TV had been calculated incorrectly and in error but maintained that the RRPs used in the other three adverts were similar to prices displayed on other retail websites or by sellers on Amazon Marketplace.
This argument, however was rejected by the ASA. They said that consumers understanding of the RRP would mean that that price would be what the item was generally sold for across the market.
When the ASA checked the prices for the monitor – listed with an RRP of £752 but available for £559 to see what it had been sold at over the previous six weeks, they found it had been sold at the higher price for nine days, then at a lower price for 14 days, then again at the higher price for two days, and after that, at a lower price for 16 days.
The ASA said the price fluctuations “did not demonstrate that Amazon usually sold the product at the higher price of £752”.
An ASA statement read: “We told Amazon to ensure that future references to RRPs reflected the price at which the products concerned were generally sold, and to ensure that they held adequate evidence to substantiate their savings claims.”
A spokesman for Amazon said: “Our customers come to Amazon and expect to find low prices and incredible deals, and we work hard to provide both all year long.”
Consumer group Which? criticised Amazon last year, along with two other companies, after a year-long investigation into “Black Friday” prices found that many deals advertised on the day were cheaper or the same price at other times of year.