Have you purchased a product from Amazon based on its discount to a purported “list price” or “reference price”? If so, you may have a claim against Amazon for deceptive trade practices.
Under state and federal laws, retailers cannot use purported discounts from specious “list prices” or “reference prices” to give consumers the impression they are getting a good deal when, in fact, they were not. Indeed, federal regulations state that it is insufficient to display a manufacturer’s suggested price or to cherry-pick the highest competitor’s price in choosing a reference price. As the Federal Trade Commission warns in its regulations:
If the list price is significantly in excess of the highest price at which substantial sales in the trade area are made, there is a clear and serious danger of the consumer being misled by an advertised reduction from this price.
Instead, a reference price must reflect the price at which a product is generally sold.
However, a recent analysis by Consumer Watchdog of the use of reference prices by Amazon found that Amazon includes such prices (and the purported discounts therefrom) on more than 25% of its stock, that “[the] majority of these reference prices exceeded — sometimes by large margins — any reasonable definition of the ‘prevailing market price,’” and that “[d]epending on the definition used, Amazon’s reference prices were higher than the prevailing market price more than half, and as much as three-quarters of the time.”
As a result, consumers may have purchased products from Amazon after having been induced to believe they were getting a fictitious discount. In such circumstances, consumers have a variety of claims that can be asserted against the retailer, including claims pursuant to federal and state deceptive practices laws, for negligent misrepresentation, and/or for unjust enrichment.
The attorneys at Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP have successfully brought lawsuits on behalf of consumers aggrieved by such deceptive trade practices. If you or someone you know has purchased products from Amazon based on its purported discount to a “list price” or “reference price,” contact us immediately to discuss your legal options.