The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two Amazon promotions for "misleading" consumers over delivery charges.
The online retailer has been slammed for a search listing and a product page promoting an electronic item within its AmazonBasics section; both of which were found by the regulator to have breached rules around misleading advertising and prices.
An investigation into the ads was launched when a shopper complained about the text accompanying them. The first read 'Eligible for FREE UK Delivery' while the second said: 'Price: £18.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20'.
In regards to the search listing, the consumer contested that the delivery pricing was unclear, while on the second count they argued that Amazon did not make it sufficiently clear the terms under which the item would be eligible for free delivery - ie whether they would have to spend £20 in total to qualify.
The retail giant responded by saying that it was "impossible to state the actual delivery charge on any given product page because the charge depended on a range of factors" and that for customers who didn't qualify for free delivery it had included text underneath the eligibility table which when clicked on provided further information.
Commenting on the second ad, Amazon asserted that it understood the second product was sold by an external seller who did not charge for delivery on the product.
The ASA, however, upheld the ruling on the basis that consumers would take from the first ad that a delivery charge would normally be applied to the product, but that if the shopper purchased additional products to bring the order total above £20 they would not be charged for delivery of any of the items in the order.
"We concluded the ads did not make sufficiently clear which items were eligible for free delivery, and under what terms, and that they were therefore misleading," added the watchdog.
The claims must not be shown again in their current form, with the ASA saying it had warned Amazon 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 qualifications to the offers of free delivery clarified, rather than contradicted, the claims they were intended to qualify," read the ASA ruling.
Update: The ASA reversered this ruling in Amazon's favour in October 2017.