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Report: Some Amazon discounts may not be real

Posted: 12:26 PM, Apr 25, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-04 12:15:31Z

We all love a bargain.

And if you spend much time on Amazon, you will find all sorts of deep discounts, with markdowns on almost everything.

But  a new report claims some of those discounts, especially when it comes to 3rd party sellers, may be just illusions.

Assuming Amazon has Lowest Price

We've all done it: checking TV's or laptops in a big box store, then going home and ordering it from Amazon.com, where we assume it will be much cheaper.  

And when you find that red line through the list price, you know you have scored a markdown.

Not necessarily, according to a recent report in the New York Times.

The report claims many third party "Fulfilled by Amazon" markdowns are no bargain at all, because the list price is not realistic.

It cited several examples:

  • The report showed cell phone batteries for just over $3  that it claimed were originally $800.
  • It showed a listing for dog treats for $7 that were originally also over $800. Yes, an $800 bag of dog treats. Must be for some special doggie.

Those are the most blatant, even laughable listings. How many  others are not so obvious?

Few Regulations

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, the fact that most state laws about sale pricing don't apply to internet commerce.

Doesn't that stink?

If a local furniture store was filled with markdowns that made no sense, the state's Attorney General would be all over them.

But when it comes to independent, 3rd party sellers on Amazon, who change prices daily if not hourly, the Times claims it is up to you to make sure the sale is real.

Amazon, which is not accused of doing this with products it sells directly,  so far is not commenting on the report..

The bottom line: your best bet is to check prices on several web retailers for something you are looking at, Best Buy, Target, Wayfair, even Google.

Amazon may have the lowest price, or it may not.

That way you'll know in seconds if it is really a deal, so you don't waste your money.

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