Amazon pricing can be REALLY sneaky. There I said it. This is something that I’ve been yelling about for years and over the weekend I discovered a blatant “Bait & Switch” practice that Amazon now employs to lure shoppers into thinking the price is great, only to pull the rug out from underneath us and basically have the low price disappear. Below is the exact scenario that I encountered, along with the response from Amazon, so you can be aware of this new sneaky pricing scam that Amazon is using.
The Bait & Switch Scenario:
My daughter is in college, has a birthday coming up, and has been jonesing for a small ice maker for her dorm room.
So off I go to Amazon and see one for $44.99 with great reviews and I think “I’m all over this one like white on rice”.
I then tap on the ice maker and get taken to the product page and much to my surprise I CAN’T find the $44.99 price anywhere….the price listed is a whopping $89.99.
A HUGE 45 dollar price difference, with the previously mentioned $44.99 price NOWHERE to be found.
So Off I Go To Amazon Chat…
I typically get good results when starting a live chat with Amazon, especially when I have an issue like not getting my package in 2 days or a return question.
But I was sorely disappointed this time.
The rep started out by telling me that Amazon changes pricing all the time, then she had me add the ice maker to my cart to see if the $44.99 propagated at checkout which of course IT DID NOT.
Then she kept saying I would get lower price when I signed up for the Chase Amazon Visa which I thought was a hilarious spin of the problem. (screenshot below)
Clearly, “Joan” had a hard time understanding my issue and could not give me answers to my questions.
I quickly realized this was getting nowhere, so I bid a fond farewell to Joan, and decided to call Amazon directly.
So I Called Amazon Customer Service…
Like it was 1986, I figured out how to make a phone call to Amazon customer service.
The first person I talked to was of little help so I asked to speak to his supervisor.
I was quickly transferred and FINALLY was able to speak with someone who actually understood my issue.
I explained that this was a clear BAIT & SWITCH and Amazon needed to honor the advertised price of $44.99.
I was pretty hot under the collar by this point as I was close to 30 minutes into this ordeal.
She explains that the $44.99 is the price from one of the 3rd party seller who just happened to be charging $45 for shipping making the price the same as Amazon’s.
The 3rd party sellers (also know as the “Other sellers on Amazon”) link was buried on the product page making for a very confusing situation.
But sure enough, after some searching, I was able to find the 3rd party seller that she was talking about and see where the $44.99 price was originating from.
The Word “from” is Clearly the Problem
Wrongly, Amazon seems fine with using the tiny word “from” on their search results page as it grabs the shoppers attention when they see a low price.
But come on Amazon, don’t put the word “from” right next to the Prime logo as it makes shoppers think they can get that low price with Prime 2-day shipping.
Very deceiving and something that I feel is a clear “bait & switch” that Amazon needs to fix immediately.
At the very least, they should remove the blue Prime logo when it’s a “from” situation to avoid confusion.
The Solution: Amazon Needs To Be More Transparent
The Amazon rep basically told me that the 3rd party seller was being very deceiving by offering that LOW price but then having incredibly HIGH shipping costs.
I told her that Amazon needed to do something about this and she promised to tell her supervisor about this issue so it could be run up the corporate ladder.
Will anything come of it? Probably not.
But if you notice the same thing, call Amazon at 1-888-280-4331 and voice your concern.
Maybe if enough of us call they will change how the display their pricing in the search results.
How to Avoid This Pricing Scam
I was told that the word “from” appears the most when using the Amazon app and you rarely see it when shopping on the website via your laptop or desktop.
So the BEST WAY to avoid this scam is to NOT shop via the Amazon app but instead to shop directly through Amazon.com.
Also, keep a sharp eye out for the word “from” and know that it means the price you’re being shown is NOT going to be the actual amount you pay and typically won’t include 2-day Prime shipping.
Ask the Reader: Have you ever noticed this very sneaky pricing scheme that Amazon does? Do you remember what the product and price was? Let me know in the comments, thanks.
By Kyle James