retail news in context, analysis with attitude

ABC News reports that even as Amazon announced that it was increasing its Prime membership annual fee from $79 to $99, it was facing two lawsuits charging that it was "encouraging third-party vendors to increase their prices to Prime members by the amount they charged others for shipping, without revealing that a portion of those alleged 'inflated' prices was for shipping fees."

At least one of the plaintiffs is seeking class action status for the suit, and seeking "a refund of all annual Prime membership fees for customers in the 2007-2011 period and treble damages under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits 'unfair or deceptive' acts in trade and commerce."

Amazon has not yet responded to the suit.
KC's View:
I have no idea if the actions described are illegal, much less if they actually were encouraged by Amazon. But I do think that every retailer - Amazon included - has to be careful never to engage in practices that even look deceptive or exploitive. Because customers remember, and there will be consequences.