Predictably, Amazon clapped back against the allegations in a statement, writing: “We validate the reference prices provided by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.” The FTC’s alleged probe of Amazon’s deceptive price modeling shows that regulators might be concerned about the company's acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion last month. The agency is inclined to ferret out any similarly sneaky moves that Amazon might bring to the supermarket business, the report states.
This has happened before. As recently as March, Consumer Watchdog accused Amazon of peddling products with arbitrary reference prices meant to inspire belief in an artificial bargain. The problem then, critics argued, was that Amazon didn’t really explain how it determines the final list price of its goods. For consumer advocates, the issue definitely remains.
While everyone loves a price-slashing deal, it’s probably best to do a bit of comparing with other retailers before spending money on something that isn’t as cheap as it seems.