ASA upholds Amazon complaints about free delivery

After a complaint around an Amazon advert, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints around the way the online giant presented its delivery charges on a listing on its website.

The complaint was made over delivery charges for an electronic product sold by AmazonBasics that was seen on the 21st July 2015.

The ruling was published on the 3rd August on the ASA website. It stated:

“The complainant challenged whether the ads were misleading, because they did not make:

1. the delivery charges for the item sufficiently clear; and

2. sufficiently clear the terms under which the item would be eligible for free delivery. The complainant believed he qualified for free delivery after adding to his basket a second product, which was described as including “FREE UK delivery”, and which took the order above £20. However, the total cost of the order at checkout still included a delivery charge for the first item.”

Though the case is a complicated one, it hangs on the fact that some products only qualify for a free delivery charge is they are part of an order that hits a £20 threshold. That £20 threshold has to be composed of products sold by Amazon for third party products fullfulled by Amazon.

In its summary over the ruling, the ASA concluded that “the ads did not make sufficiently clear which items were eligible for free delivery, and under what terms, and that they were therefore misleading”.

ASA ruled that the ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.4.4 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 and 3.10 (Qualification), 3.17 and 3.20 (Prices), and therefore stipulated that: “The ads must not appear again in the form complained about.”

ASA outlined the actions taken: “We told Amazon Europe Core Sarl to ensure that where a delivery charge applied to a product featured in an ad which quoted a price for the advertised product, the ad included the delivery charge alongside the price of the product. We also told them to ensure that, where items were eligible for free delivery, the claims used to communicate that did not mislead consumers as to the terms under which their order would qualify for free delivery. We also told them to ensure that qualifications to the offers of free delivery clarified, rather than contradicted, the claims they were intended to qualify.”