Amazon slammed for price reporting deal

Dec 10, 2011

Online retailing giant Amazon was criticized as "anti-competitive" Saturday for its latest promotion that encourages consumers to enter stores and leave empty-handed, after reporting back the prices they find there.

The deal dubbed "Price Check" involves customers finding and sharing in-store prices and receiving a discount of five percent -- to a maximum of $5 -- from the for that item if Amazon has it in stock.

The move was sharply criticised by Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, a member of the on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, who called the move a direct assault on .

"Amazon's promotion -- paying consumers to visit and leave empty-handed -- is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities," she said in a statement this week.

The deal, accessed through a new smartphone application from the Amazon website, can be applied three times for a total savings of $15 on electronics, sporting goods, music, DVDs and other items.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) also criticized the promotion, saying that "central to this tactic is Amazon's continued practice of using a pre-Internet loophole to avoid state sales tax collection."

The group called on to rein in what it called the company's "exploitative" practises.

The online retailer is regularly targeted by trader associations who believe the company gains an unfair competitive advantage due to being exempt from VAT taxes in most US states.

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User comments : 6

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Roland
4 / 5 (4) Dec 10, 2011
This practice is exploitative, but "anti-competitive" is exactly what it is not. It's capitalism, get used to it. Various states seem to think they have a right to impose and collect sales taxes. Governments don't have rights. Amazon is exploiting the foolishness of excessive taxes imposed by idiot bureaucracies.
Temple
5 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2011
Agreed.

Competing on price means letting people know what your prices are. If they don't like your prices, then you're not winning the competition.
wealthychef
not rated yet Dec 10, 2011
This is VERY competitive! You can argue that Amazon is basically highlighting that due to its tax-free status it wins the price wars, but it's the tax situation that's anti-competitive, not the fact that people are noticing the difference.
mattytheory
5 / 5 (2) Dec 10, 2011
Isn't sales sax added at the time of purchase? Thats how it is here in the US anyway. Amazon is asking shoppers to note prices and report back for credit. All other things being equal, matching or undercutting a price only cuts into profit margin here. The difference is that Amazon's operating costs are lower than the competition. They can make deep cuts and still make a profit. No one shops at Amazon because they don't have a sales tax. You can shop anywhere on the internet with the same deal. People shop at Amazon because they can get better price deals. The no sales tax is a bonus albeit offset at least in part by shipping fees...
Caliban
not rated yet Dec 10, 2011

Amazon.com. The new WalMart. Get used to that.

Melissa_Skinnder
not rated yet Dec 11, 2011
I feel sorry for sheeple. BUT, still, ya gotta love 'em.
Here, Amazon wants to pay you a tiny little fee to do the work for them, so you can help them amass their database. The more info Amazon has, the better for them. This is a way to get you to do the work for them for very very little. How nice. Translate it to an hourly wage (those 3 little items) and it's serf wages. lol

You better pray that Amazon is not going to be the Walmart of the future. Just look at Walmart and what they've done........