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California prosecutors sue Amazon for alleged misleading pricing

'Lawsuit includes SD District Attorney'
Amazon-Outages
Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 19, 2021

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Amazon is being sued by a coalition of California prosecutors, including the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, for allegedly misleading consumers regarding pricing on its website.

Amazon did not immediately respond for comment regarding the complaint.

Prosecutors allege Amazon misleads buyers by featuring "reference pricing" in its advertisements for various products. This refers to when products' current prices are compared to a former, higher price the product was previously sold at -- often called "Was" prices -- or prices the products are usually sold at by other sellers, suppliers or the manufacturer, often called "List" prices, the suit says.

An Amazon representative said the company did not have a comment regarding the case, but provided a statement that read, "``Amazon works hard to help customers make informed purchase decisions, including clear pricing information directly on our detail pages."

According to the complaint, the "Was" prices may be misleading, as there are often "insufficient temporal constraints and/or number of sales to support the reference price as a former price" as well as "insufficient disclosure to the consumer of the methodology used to derive the former price."

Additionally, the "List" prices "insufficiently disclosed that the reference price was not necessarily the prevailing market price or regular retail price for which the product could be purchased," according to the suit filed Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court.

The San Diego DA's Office was joined in the complaint by the DA's offices in Riverside, Alameda, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Yolo counties.