In recent years Amazon has established itself as the go-to place for anyone looking for a cheap deal for pretty much anything you could ever want to own.
But what if we were told you that they’ve been making millions of customers pay more without even realising?
Well you probably shouldn’t even be that surprised, when you take into account that this is a corporation who made £5.3 billion in British sales alone in 2014 and than proceeded to only pay £11.9 million in tax (that’s a whopping 0.02% of their total sales).
A U.S. study found that the site nearly always had products supplied by Amazon or its partners at the top of its search results, rather than third party suppliers, even if they were more expensive.
The research by ProPublica also found that when Amazon let its shoppers actually compare prices, they didn’t take into account shipping costs for the products it supplies, but does for those delivered by third parties. Totally unbiased and fair behaviour right there.
They searched for 250 commonly purchased products over several weeks to see which ones were placed in the top position on Amazon’s search results and in almost 75 per cent of cases, the top result was not the cheapest.
Though Amazon argue that they do their best to point out the cheaper prices.
In a statement given to ProPublica, they said:
Price is one component of being customer centric. Suggesting the lowest price item that may not land on the doorstep quickly isn’t being customer centric. If a customer is solely looking for the lowest price available, we clearly alert them our product detail pages that lower prices may be available.
Basically, don’t take the top search for granted- there are almost certainly better deals elsewhere if you’re willing to do a bit of digging.