The Federal Trade Commission is looking into allegations that Amazon tricks consumers with misleading discounts.
The move, part of the FTC’s review of Amazon’s agreement to buy Whole Foods, follows a complaint by Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group that found more than half of product prices online showed false regular prices.
Amazon countered, stating Consumer Watchdog’s study was “deeply flawed,” reports Reuters, insisting that reference prices are validated “by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.”
This is not the first time Amazon has been called out for deceptive discounting. Earlier this year, Amazon settled a similar allegation with Canada’s Competition Bureau. The ecommerce giant paid a fine of $1 million—a drop in the ocean for a company whose annual revenue is now in the hundreds of billions.
“The Bureau’s investigation concluded that these claims created the impression that prices for items offered on Amazon.ca were lower than prevailing market prices,” the Bureau said in January, which goes against Amazon’s current claim. “The Bureau determined that Amazon relied on its suppliers to provide list prices without verifying that those prices were accurate.”
Consumer Watchdog wants Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to be put on hold until the company ceases its misleading practices.