The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating allegations that Amazon misleads customers about its prices and discounts, Reuters reported.
The probe comes as part of a review of the company’s proposed merger with Whole Foods
The FTC’s probe is reportedly the result of a complaint brought forth by Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group. In the group’s analysis of 1,000 products on the website they found that 61 percent of the time, the reference or list price that Amazon used to show consumers how much money they were saving increased in a 90-day period.
The advocacy group said that Amazon can use such alleged manipulations of reference prices to make it look like consumers are getting a better deal than they actually are.
After the agency reviewed the letter, it reportedly began an informal inquiry into online retailer, according to Reuters. The FTC did not immediately return The Hill’s request for comment on the matter.
Amazon told Reuters in statement that the Consumer Watchdog study is “deeply flawed.”
“We validate the reference prices provided by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.”
Lawmakers like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) have called for close scrutiny in Amazon’s merger with Whole Foods. But the two have warned of the deal’s impact on jobs and the potential for anti-competitive behavior, not deceptive pricing practices.