Amazon has been reprimanded by the ad watchdog over concerns the delivery options on its website may have misled people into signing up for Prime.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 10 complaints about a promotion that appeared during the ecommerce giant’s checkout process.
The page, which appeared in May and June, offered customers a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, the firm’s premium subscription service.
Beneath this appeared a gold box that stated “Order Now with Prime”, while another box contained the text “Continue with FREE One-Day Delivery Pay later”. An option to the left in blue text stated “Continue and don’t gain Amazon Prime benefits”.
Small print at the bottom of the page stated: “By signing up you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Amazon Prime Terms and Conditions and authorise us to charge your credit card… after your 30-day free trial.”
The complainants said the presentation of the options was unclear and challenged whether the ad was misleading.
The ASA upheld the complaint, concluding that the presentation and wording of the promotion were unclear and likely to mislead customers.
“We considered that the average consumer was likely to view the text within the grey and gold boxes as the only two options available, with the ‘option’ in the grey box allowing them to continue without signing up to Prime, when that was not the case,” it said.
Amazon handed over confidential data which it believed showed customers were clear about what they were doing. However, the watchdog dismissed the evidence, saying it did not prove that customers were not being misled.
An Amazon spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the ASA has chosen not to act on evidence we’ve contributed to this investigation.
“The ASA has instead based its ruling on a handful of complaints and a subjective opinion of the page. We will continue our discussions with the ASA.”
The watchdog ruled that the promotion should not appear again in that format and told Amazon to ensure options related to Prime membership were presented clearly and prominently in future.
Main image credit: Getty