A British advertising body has ruled that e-commerce giant Amazon isn’t allowed to make claims over the next-day delivery for its Prime service following the complaint of 280 people saying they didn’t receive items the day after ordering.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that Amazon.co.uk’s claim of “one-day delivery” was a misleading ad for Prime-labeled items. It said that the company must make clear that these items are not available to be delivered the following day.
During the time, Amazon’s UK homepage included the message “one-day delivery for Christmas,” with further text stating, “Get unlimited one-day delivery with Amazon Prime.”
There was also text elsewhere on the website explaining that the one-day delivery was dependent on the item’s availability and the time of the order’s placement.
As a response to the ASA, the e-commerce company stated that its text did not promise a specific speed of delivery of a specific product, adding that the delivery information could be viewed on separate web pages.
On the other hand, the advertising body concluded that people wouldn’t likely visit those pages before deciding to buy Amazon Prime, which requires members to pay $10.18 a month.
“Because consumers were likely to understand that, so long as they did not order too late, all Prime items would be available for delivery the next day with the one-day delivery option…we concluded the ad was misleading,” said the ASA report.
The ad body instructed Amazon that its claims must not again be seen in their current form, which is its usual phrasing when it upholds complaints.
Delivery is one of Amazon’s priorities. The company has noted the risk associated with relying on external partners in its latest annual report as well as its potential impact on financial results.
“If we are unable to negotiate acceptable terms with these companies or they experience performance problems or other difficulties, it could negatively impact our operating results and customer experience,” according to the company’s 10-K filing in February.
Amazon spent $21.7 billion on shipping, delivery center, and transportation in 2017, higher than the $11.5 billion it spent in 2015. It announced in June that it will permit entrepreneurs run local delivery networks in the US.
It is still unclear what Amazon altered as a response of the ASA’s ruling, though a spokesperson for the online retailing giant said that the expected delivery date is shown before an order is placed and that they work “relentlessly” to meet the indicated date.
“The overwhelming majority of one-day delivery orders are delivered when promised. A small proportion of orders missed the delivery promise last year during a period of extreme weather that impacted all carriers across the UK, and we provided support to impacted customers at the time,” said the spokesperson.