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Amazon denies misleading discount claims

Book RRPs left unchanged on site for up to ten weeks

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Amazon.co.uk has been misleading customers about the size of the discount it offers on some its books. Following a Register investigation, the British branch of the mammoth online bookstore was found claiming discounts of around £35 on certain titles when the real reduction was just £6.

Amazon.co.uk is distancing itself from the allegations, saying instead that the mix-up was a genuine oversight by the online bookstore and not a deliberate attempt to hoodwink consumers.

Among those books under scrutiny, Amazon.co.uk claims that the UK recommended retail price (RRP) for Windows NT Technical Support Training is currently £93.99. With Amazon.co.uk charging just £58.96, the bookstore claims it is offering a discount of some 37 per cent. But the real RRP of this IT book is £64.99 - a saving of just £6.03. The price was reduced by Microsoft Press on 20 September - almost ten weeks ago.

The same is true of Microsoft TCP/IP Training Kit, which Amazon.co.uk claims to offer at an unbeatable discount of 36 per cent. In truth, e-shoppers are only saving £6.03, instead of a whopping £34.03 on the title. Amazon said the discrepancy arose because it failed to update its price list when some publishers revised the RRP on certain books. Book prices are usually altered within a couple of days of notification from publishing houses.

Curtis Kopf, Amazon's book general manager in the UK, said he would be looking into the matter to see if any other mistakes have been made. "I admit we've made a mistake and I'm embarrassed to say we got it wrong. But we would never knowingly mislead our customers. This is just a simple mistake, that's all."

The Register has a list of some dozen IT titles which it believes are being wrongly advertised on Amazon.co.uk. We will be sending these to the bookstore to help it rectify any misleading promotions that may be running at the moment. ®

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