As part of its review of Amazon’s (AMZN.O) agreement to buy Whole Foods (WFM.O), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is looking into allegations that Amazon misleads customers about its pricing discounts, according to a source close to the probe.
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The FTC is probing a complaint brought by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which looked at some 1,000 products on Amazon’s website in June and found that Amazon put reference prices, or list prices, on about 46 percent of them.
An analysis found that in 61 percent of products with reference prices, Amazon’s reference prices were higher than it had sold the same product in the previous 90 days, Consumer Watchdog said in a letter to the FTC dated July 6.
Following receipt of the letter, the agency made informal inquiries about the allegations, according to a source who spoke on background to preserve business relationships.
The FTC declined comment for this story. It was not known if the agency would open a formal probe into the allegations. Amazon closed up slightly for the day at $1,028.70.