Amazon Europe click and bait practices

Amazon Europe ‘click and bait’ practices


After B&H Photos click and bait scandal over the Christmas holidays involving a deal with Hasselblad X1D with two free lenses, Amazon Europe seems to going the same route.

My Story

On January 3rd, I saw the Sony SEL70-200G f/2.8 had a rather nice 16% discount. I proceeded to order this lens. It wasn’t in stock, but I don’t mind waiting a few weeks until it becomes available.
Amazon Europe click and bait practicesI received my order confirmation in the mailbox as usual so all looked well.

Amazon Europe click and bait

The next day, I thought I’d check my amazon account to see if any delivery date has been set. To my surprise, I could not find my order and after some investigation in turned out that it was moved to the ‘cancelled orders’ section. I had not received any communication from amazon about this, so I decided to contact customer support…

I received this reply:

Amazon Europe click and bait

Their explanation was that someone had made a ‘pricing mistake’ and hence they had cancelled my order. They directed me back to the page with the original listing price. Now in Europe, as a seller, you are obliged to sell your products for the (in this case discounted) listed price. Mistake or not, unless the mistake is obvious, say a zero was forgotten and the item is listed at 10% of the normal value. A 16% discount is not that rare an occurrence, especially on Amazon, so I replied telling them that they are legally bound to sell this item to me at that price.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Check their reply:

Amazon Europe click and bait

It looks like the Amazon lawyers have found a loophole, saying that the “contract of sale” only comes into existence when they actually dispatch your item. So this basically means that in a regular store, you’d only be able to know the price of an item once you’ve paid at the cashiers’ desk and they put your order in a bag. Almost out the door…Fishy.

To make matters worse, a big Amazon competitor was holding a 16% sale on all Sony lenses that day, and Amazon has a price matching policy. So they probably matched their price or made a mistake in what lenses were included in that deal and realised afterwards that it would eat up all their profits on that item.

But now we know: Amazon can always withdraw from any deal or discount they offer until the item is physically shipped.  This also means that you could potentially lose out on a deal somewhere else if Amazon decides to change it’s mind for any reason.

I would think that this practice is bordering on illegal. I’d like to hear if anyone else has had any experiences like that so we can hopefully change this Amazon policy!





wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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