Amazon facing fresh investigation over user complaints

Online retailer Amazon is potentially facing an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over user complaints that its Prime service is falling short with holiday orders.

Following multiple complaints over Prime’s much-touted one-day delivery, a spokesperson for the ASA said: “We have received a handful of complaints. We are considering whether to launch an investigation.”

Standard Amazon customers are eligible for free delivery above a minimum spend. Prime users, by contrast, are offered complimentary express delivery on all items tagged as eligible for Prime.

The company has said that the last order date for standard delivery ahead of Christmas is Wednesday, while Prime shoppers have until Saturday. 

There is a caveat to the promise of express delivery though. As The Guardian points out, another part of the site says that orders "will be dispatched with the intention that it’s delivered one day after dispatch,” advising customers to contact customer services if they do not receive their parcel by the estimated delivery date.

The consumer rights group Which? said: “If you paid for delivery by a certain date or time (eg. by Christmas or next-day delivery) and the delivery arrives late, this is a breach of contract. If it was essential that your goods were delivered on time, you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.”

This is not Amazon’s first brush with the ASA. The retailer was investigated in 2015 after six people claimed that Prime’s advertising was misleading. The regulator agreed, finding that the email sent to existing Amazon customers did not make it clear enough that a paid subscription would automatically kick in after the free trial, concluding that the advert was "likely to mislead".

The Amazon UK press office could not be contacted for a comment. The Sunday Telegraph quoted an Amazon spokesman as saying: “We’d ask any customers with questions about their deliveries to contact us.”

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