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Amazon ordered to clarify 'misleading' delivery charges

Published 03/08/2016

The Advertising Standards Authority found Amazon misled customers with a lack of clarity about items eligible for free delivery
The Advertising Standards Authority found Amazon misled customers with a lack of clarity about items eligible for free delivery

Amazon has been ordered to clarify its delivery charges for individual products after the advertising watchdog found it had been misleading customers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found a lack of clarity about items eligible for free delivery after a shopper complained about charges for an AmazonBasics electrical product.

The search listing said the item cost £18.49 and stated it was "Eligible for free UK delivery", while a click through to the product page came up with the same price but slightly different text, "Free delivery in the UK on orders over £20".

The customer complained that the ads were misleading after finding that he had to pay a delivery charge at the checkout, despite adding a second item to his basket which took the order above £20.

Amazon said the full range of delivery options and charges were presented on a page titled "About Free Delivery", accessible via a link, claiming it was impossible to state the actual delivery charge on any given product page because it depended on a range of variables specific to each customer.

It said the page about free delivery made it clear that products not dispatched by Amazon were not eligible for free delivery, and therefore did not count towards the minimum amount required to make an order eligible for the offer.

The ASA said customers would understand that "Eligible for free UK delivery" meant a delivery charge for the product might be waived in some circumstances, and that "Free Delivery in the UK on orders over £20" meant that they would not be charged for delivery if the total order was over £20.

It noted that customers were likely to take the cost of delivery into account when searching various retailers for an item.

The ASA said: "We concluded the ads did not make sufficiently clear which items were eligible for free delivery, and under what terms, and that they were therefore misleading."

It told Amazon to include the delivery charge alongside the price of a product if one applied, and to not mislead consumers on the terms under which their order would qualify for free delivery.

An Amazon spokesman said: "We offer a wide range of delivery options and ensure that any charges are clearly visible so our customers can make an informed choice before they decide to make a purchase."

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