Your source for CE industry intelligence
Tactics Called ‘Deceptive’

Suit Alleges Amazon Dupes Prime Members on Advertised Shipping Times

Amazon “misrepresents” the benefits of Prime memberships when it advertises products available for free shipping in one or two days but in reality keeps members “waiting substantially beyond” those promised turnaround times, alleged a fraud class action Thursday (docket 3:22-cv-01764) in U.S. District Court for Southern California in San Diego.

Start A Trial

Another “deceptive tactic” is when Amazon changes “the delivery date of a purchased item midway, during its transit,” said the complaint. The plaintiffs are two San Diego County consumers, Barbara Brittain and Linda Dial, who allege violations of California false advertising and unfair competition laws, plus unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation and common law fraud.

Shipping speeds “are a highly important attribute to consumers” in the e-commerce era, as many “reasonable individuals” decide where to buy a specific item “based on how quickly the potential retail location for the purchase will deliver the ordered item,” said the complaint. Amazon, “aware of how critical shipping speeds are to buyers,” deliberately deceives consumers by purposely marketing a product “in a false and misleading manner, and lying to consumers about the purported shipping and delivery benefits” they will receive, it said.

If the plaintiffs and other members of the potential class had known Amazon “fails to deliver items within the advertised time frames,” they would not have bought the goods from Amazon “or would have paid significantly less,” said the complaint. “Amazon’s labeling, marketing and advertising uniformly involves multiple false and misleading statements, as well as material omissions of fact,” it said.

Amazon “has no reasonable basis for falsely advertising and deceptively marketing shipping speeds, or for perpetuating pervasive and systematic misrepresentations” about the goods it sells, said the complaint. Consumers are “consistently misled” into buying products for “commonly known and/or advertised benefits, when in fact no such characteristics could be had,” it said.

Plaintiffs Brittain and Dial bought items from Amazon under the terms of their paid Prime subscriptions and the advertised promise of free one- or two-day shipping, said the complaint. Both “reasonably made” their purchasing decisions based on the “deceptive advertising claims” that Amazon prominently disseminated and continues to market” with its products, it said.

The complaint seeks compensatory, statutory or punitive damages, and asks the court to impose a “constructive trust” to compel the “restoration” of the money to consumers that Amazon “acquired through fraud,” it said. It also seeks an order enjoining Amazon “from continuing to engage in the unlawful conduct and practices described herein,” it said. Amazon didn’t comment.