(Reuters) — As a part of its overview of Amazon’s settlement to purchase Complete Meals, the Federal Commerce Fee is wanting into allegations that Amazon misleads prospects about its pricing reductions, in line with a source near the probe.

The FTC is probing a grievance introduced by the advocacy group Shopper Watchdog, which checked out some 1,000 merchandise on Amazon’s web site in June and located that Amazon put reference costs, or listing costs, on about 46 % of them.

An evaluation discovered that in 61 % of merchandise with reference costs, Amazon’s reference costs have been increased than it had bought the identical product within the earlier 90 days, Shopper Watchdog stated in a letter to the FTC dated July 6.

Following receipt of the letter, the company made casual inquiries in regards to the allegations, in line with a source who spoke on background to protect enterprise relationships.

The FTC declined remark for this story. It was not identified if the company would open a proper probe into the allegations. Amazon closed up barely for the day at $1,028.70.

Amazon stated in an announcement that Shopper Watchdog’s research was “deeply flawed.”

“The conclusions the Consumer Watchdog group reached are flat out wrong,” Amazon stated. “We validate the reference prices provided by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.”

The overview of Amazon’s discount pricing is a sign the FTC is taking a critical have a look at the e-commerce firm’s settlement to purchase Complete Meals, a deal that critics say may give Amazon an unfair benefit.

Shopper Watchdog argued that the misleading listing costs make Amazon costs appear to be a cut price, and requested the FTC to cease Amazon from shopping for Complete Meals whereas the misleading discounting is going on.

The FTC performs a twin function of probing expenses of misleading promoting and assessing mergers to make sure they adjust to antitrust regulation. Amazon stated in June that it will purchase the premium grocer for $13.7 billion.

The FTC’s “Guide Against Deceptive Pricing” warns towards utilizing a “fictitious” or “inflated” listing value for the aim of creating the worth charged appear to be a cut price.

Amazon settled related allegations with Canada’s Competitors Bureau in January. It paid a advantageous of C$1 million ($756,658.60) as a part of the settlement.

Amazon ran afoul of the FTC in 2014 for making it too simple for kids to run up payments whereas enjoying games equivalent to “Pet Shop Story” and “Ice Age Village” on cellular devices, leading to an estimated $86 million of unauthorized expenses. It has been ordered to reimburse dad and mom for the fees.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Further reporting by Jeffrey Dastin; Enhancing by Sandra Maler)

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