FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
New Delhi,UPDATED: Feb 13, 2024 09:33 IST
Amazon, one of the largest online marketplaces, is facing a lawsuit accusing it of misleading customers with its “Buy Now” button. This button, known as the Buy Box, appears on product pages and prompts users to make a purchase. However, the lawsuit alleges that Amazon manipulates this feature to push customers towards buying items that may actually cost more than similar products available elsewhere on the platform.
The Buy Box typically displays items sold by Amazon itself or by sellers who use Amazon's Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service, according to a report published by Ars Tecnica. These sellers pay Amazon higher fees and receive special benefits, such as being featured in the Buy Box. As a result, many customers assume that the items showcased in the Buy Box offer the best deals and fastest delivery options.
However, according to the lawsuit, this isn't always the case. The lawsuit claims that Amazon's algorithm, which controls the Buy Box, prioritizes items that will earn the company higher fees, rather than displaying the best deals for customers. This means that customers may end up paying more than they need to for items available at lower prices from other sellers on Amazon.
Authorities in the United States and the European Union have investigated Amazon's practices regarding the Buy Box and found evidence that Amazon has been favoring FBA sellers since at least 2016. In response to these findings, Amazon has faced significant fines and orders to address the bias in its Buy Box algorithm.
Despite Amazon's attempts to address the issue, concerns persist. European regulators continue to push Amazon to take further action to ensure fairness and transparency in its marketplace.
For customers, this means that they should be cautious when using the Buy Now button on Amazon. While it may seem convenient, it's important to compare prices and consider other sellers before making a purchase. By being aware of these potential pitfalls, customers can make more informed decisions and avoid overpaying for items on the platform.
As the lawsuit progresses and regulatory pressure mounts, Amazon will need to take steps to address these allegations and regain the trust of its customers. In the meantime, shoppers should stay vigilant and look for the best deals available, rather than simply relying on the Buy Now button.