Amazon in trouble with regulators over ‘next day’ delivery claims

13 Aug 2018

Amazon Prime package. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

UK regulators will tell Amazon to stop claiming that its Prime service guarantees next-day delivery.

Amazon Prime is often held up as a model of a convenient and swift e-commerce experience, with subscribers receiving free shipping as one of the perks it offers. Next-day delivery is another promise Amazon Prime makes to users, but this looks set to change.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is expected to rule that Amazon’s claim to be able to offer an “unlimited one-day delivery” service is misleading in some cases.

According to the Evening Standard, the ASA ruling will say: “[A] significant proportion of Prime-labelled items were not available for delivery the next day … 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 … we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

Amazon Prime customers unhappy

The probe stems from last Christmas, when many Prime customers in the UK said that the company did not live up to its next-day delivery claims. Approximately 270 people said they did not receive their delivery by the following day.

Amazon must now make it clear that some Prime-labelled items are not available for next-day delivery.

Inclement weather to blame?

A spokesperson for Amazon said the company tries its utmost to meet expected delivery dates, citing extreme weather in late 2017 as a factor for the delays referenced by the ASA and angry shoppers.

They added: “The expected delivery date is shown before an order is placed and throughout the shopping journey, and we work relentlessly to meet this date. The overwhelming majority of one-day delivery orders are delivered when promised.”

The ASA has investigated Amazon before. In 2016, the ASA ruled that Amazon’s claims around free delivery were not clear enough, adding that the company should have explained free delivery was only guaranteed if Amazon itself dispatched the order.

Amazon Prime package. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects