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Amazon criticised over confusing delivery fee policy

05 August 2016 - 13:08 by David Aiken

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This week the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken e-commerce retailer Amazon to task over the nature of its delivery services for customers carrying out safe shopping online, according to the Guardian.

The issues arose as a result of the fact that certain products are advertised as being eligible for free delivery on their distinct pages, only to fail to qualify for this benefit when shoppers get through to the checkout.

Amazon argued that its customers could find out all about its free delivery policies, as well as all of the other delivery options that it offers, by clicking through to the relevant help page. It also said that since charges varied from product to product, putting exact costs for shipping on product pages was not a possibility.

Amazon has been gradually increasing the minimum order value which must be met in order for customers to receive the option of free delivery, largely in order to convince more people to sign up to its Prime service and pay a subscription fee, instead of multiple one-off charges for delivery.

The ASA agreed with customers who complained about the way that free delivery was advertised on the site and said that Amazon should update the design of its site to ensure that there was no confusion in this area in the future.

It is common for retailers that offer shopping online to charge for quicker delivery options, while making less urgent services available free of charge, providing orders meet minimum criteria. But it is certainly possible to see how some pages present delivery options in a misleading way.

The confusion over delivery costs may be one of the reasons why click and collect has become so popular in the UK, since in most cases, this is available free of charge.