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Amazon reprimanded by watchdog over ‘misleading’ ads

Four adverts by Amazon have been banned after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they were “misleading”.

In a series of TV adverts in July last year, Amazon promoted items such as a laptop gaming monitor, TV and an electric toothbrush with savings of over £300 on their RRP.

The online retail giant was subsequently accused of misleading customers who complained that these savings figures were inaccurate.

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Amazon said it had checked the RRPs were the same as those on third-party websites as sold by third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace, although it did admit the prices included on the TV adds, all of which received a complaint from the public, were “made in error”.

Amazon stated the error occurred when it checked other retailers’ pricing and that it should not have displayed the RRP. The company said in future it would “work on a solution to avoid this happening again”.

The ASA said customers would understand an RRP to mean it was the price an item is usually sold for, but the gaming monitor advertised at £193 with an RRP of £752, was initially sold at the RRP 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.

It considered that such price fluctuations showed that the product was sold at a cheaper price for the majority of time over six weeks prior to the offer and did not demonstrate that Amazon usually sold the product at the higher price of £752.

As Amazon did not provide adequate evidence to support the savings claim ASA concluded that it had not been substantiated and was misleading.

Regarding the advertisements in question the ASA said: “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.”

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