back to article Ad watchdog: Amazon 'misleading' over Prime next-day delivery ads

Amazon Prime’s next-day-delivery advertising strapline has been branded misleading by a British advertising watchdog. No fewer than 280 people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, a private company based in London, that Amazon’s “one-day delivery” promise – including its “one-day delivery for Christmas” promotion …

  1. DJ Smiley

    > Amazon was ordered not to let the advert “appear again in its current form”, and to ensure that some Amazon Prime-labelled items were not available for next-day delivery.

    Is it me, or does that second bit not make sense? Was it meant to be 'as some Amazon Prime-labelled items were not available for next-day delivery' I wonder?

    1. smudge Silver badge

      I think it means "to ensure that some Amazon Prime-labelled items were not advertised as available for next-day delivery".

      If that means removing the Prime-labelling, I have no idea.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


        Prime is a mulch-facited offering. The two most obvious benefits are next day delivery, which is not available on all Prime items (and it is possible to tell this from the listings - they nearly always say "not eligible for next day delivery"), and free shipping (there are other things like Prime only items, which are only available if you are a Prime member), and some music and video media available to stream

        So it is possible to have an item that you do not pay any shipping charges, but which will be delivered several days after order. It's still a Prime item.

        What I have problems with is when you order something that is "next day delivery", and you get an expected delivery date, a dispatch notification, and even tracking information that says it will be delivered, right up to the end of the delivery window, where you suddenly get a "we're so sorry, we have not been able to deliver" message (although you don't always get that).

        I'm sure that the multiple instances of this that I've experienced are largely a result of the delivery company (normally Hermes, DHL always seem to deliver) pushing their delivery drivers beyond what is achievable. Normally, a swift complaint to Amazon results in a "free" month of Prime, but that's not much consolation when I needed the item on a particular day.

    2. Boothy

      I noticed that as well, seemed a little harsh to order Amazon to not deliver some prime items the next day! So making the service even worse than it already was!

    3. BillG Silver badge

      Prime Complaints

      Yes, Amazon will renege on their promise to you to deliver next day. They will also renege on their promise to deliver guaranteed two-day delivery in two days.

      Each time Amazon breaks that promise YOU MUST CALL customer support and complain (don't chat, call them). You must call immediately after you notice a problem, as in the online delivery date disagrees with the delivery date in your confirmation email.

      Don't let them B.S. you with "it's next day after factory processing". Be stubborn. Repeat after me, "I expect delivery two days after I place my order." Repeat it over and over. BE NICE! Be nice to the customer service rep, trust me, they can do a lot for you if they like you, like free next-day shipping, extending your Prime by a month (maximum three months), $20 credit for the inconvenience, and much more. Many of us have done telephone support, you know what that's like.

      After the third time you complain your delivery problems will mysteriously disappear.

      1. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Prime Complaints

        Works for 3-5 orders after the complaining, then back to normal, for me.

        1. Mark 110 Silver badge

          Re: Prime Complaints

          I've never had a problem, but then I'm never really that desperate for the next day thing so don't watch that closely. I will watch more closely in future. Always nice to get free stuff.

      2. harryhedgehog

        Re: Prime Complaints

        In the UK its a tad easier to complain about a late One day delivery.

        Just fire up a chat session and complain that "...the next day service has let me down and I am disappointed with Prime..." etc etc and they will instantly extend your Prime membership by a month.

        Done this 5 times this year so far...

    4. DCFusor Silver badge

      Many prime

      2-day free shipping items don't make it in two days, either. Sometimes they haven't even shipped till late in day 2 (or worse).

      There's more bad news. I don't have one-click turned on ,nor Alexa.

      When I make up a decent sized order (to spare them shipping cost!) about 1 in 3 orders will have one item checked "same day" or "1 day" delivery - at an enormous extra price, and if I don't check, I'm out anywhere from $30 or $50 on what might have been a $4.99 item - in a $120 order.

      Hard to see how that could be an accident....moral is, caveat emptor.

      1. Patrician

        Re: Many prime

        Iv'e never had that happen and I'm a fairly heavy Amazon shopper with most of non-grocery shopping being done with them.

  2. Oh Homer Silver badge

    "1 business day after dispatch"

    I get hit with this all the time. One of the worst offenders (an Amazon marketplace vendor) recently accepted a "next day delivery" order from me which it then sat on for two days before finally processing ... on a Friday night. The courier then received their instructions on Saturday, and of course did nothing until Monday. They finally picked up the item on the Tuesday. It got as far as Glasgow on the Wednesday, and eventually arrived at my house on the Thursday, exactly one week after I placed the order.

    "Next day" my arse.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: "1 business day after dispatch"

      Marketplace vendors are completely separate from this... I'll rather pay *Amazon* to deliver it from *their* warehouses rather than trust a marketplace vendor. If a vendor lists their stock as 'fulfilled by Amazon', then it's less of a gamble and more like Amazon. At least Amazon I can hold to account, and I know they've paid VAT on the stuff they sell.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: "1 business day after dispatch"

        Unless I know the vendor my heart sinks when I look for something on Amazon and find it's from a Marketplace supplier. I trust them about as much as random people on eBay.

      2. tfewster Silver badge

        Re: "1 business day after dispatch"

        I also rely on "fulfilled by Amazon" - though a recent order arrived, the wrong item and in re-used Amazon packaging, so clearly not always true either.

        >The ASA is not a statutory regulator

        That explains a lot. But if they're not going to do anything, shouldn't Trading Standards take this up under false advertising/contract law?

  3. monty75 Silver badge

    "One day delivery" - as in one day it'll be delivered

  4. Teiwaz Silver badge

    I'm not a huge Amazon customer, but 'Next Day' is usually pretty quick for Amazon stuff - forget it with Vendor selling through Amazon of course, I've not had one that didn't take a week or more.

    If 'Next Day Delivery' is not something they can guarantee, they should not be selling it with 'next day'. Call it something else.

    Can we set ASA on 'Smart' devices, 'Self driving' and 'Artificial Intelligence' next - If sellers of useless tat get smacked down hard and often enough when misrepresenting their plastic chipped junk they might actually start behaving with some sense eventually.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Can we set ASA on 'Smart' devices, 'Self driving' and 'Artificial Intelligence' next - If sellers of useless tat get smacked down hard and often enough when misrepresenting their plastic chipped junk they might actually start behaving with some sense eventually.

      That is the triumph of hope over experience IMHO. In respect of "smart" meters they are more smart from the supply company's point of view than they are from the end user's, and I am currently doing battle with the supposed "AI" of BG's voice recognition system in trying to sort out a boiler service for an elderly relative. I have one more phone call to try tomorrow; if that presents me with voice recognition (after umpteen other numbers that have done just that) it will be back to snail mail with a blistering letter.

      And it will be blistering.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "BG's voice recognition system in trying to sort out a boiler service"

        I think I can see where your problem is. BG (or any other big organisation) and boiler service. Get a good local tradesman who knows they depend on repeat business to make a living and repeat business depends on satisfied customers.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          I think I can see where your problem is. BG (or any other big organisation) and boiler service. Get a good local tradesman...

          Can't I'm afraid; elderly relative has a Homecare contract with BG so there is no option. :(

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Can't I'm afraid; elderly relative has a Homecare contract with BG so there is no option."

            Why not ignore the contract and just get someone in to fix it? I doubt Homecare will care if you don't call them. In fact, your experience seems to be that they don't care if you do.

            Our first boiler in this house had the manufacturer's own alleged cover which was subbed to a local business who didn't have to depend on us for repeat business, failed to make appointments or turn up when appointments were made etc. I'm not sure, but I think a lot if not all these schemes are managed by a very few companies in the same way.

            We got in a local guy who eventually got the job of replacing the dripping, irreplaceable mess of the old one and turns up to service it and fix other problems as needed (plumbing is one job I really, really hate doing myself). He also got the job of replacing the boiler in my daughter's house.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Can't I'm afraid; elderly relative has a Homecare contract with BG so there is no option. :(

            Think what that would look like chiselled on a gravestone.

      2. Commswonk Silver badge

        I wrote: I have one more phone call to try tomorrow;

        I know tomorrow never comes but this update might be worthwhile:

        I 'phoned BG Homecare's published "Complaints" number; OK it still hit a voice recognition system but only one word was required to get things moving, if a 10 minutes wait for someone to actually speak to me qualifies as "moving". (In that 10 minutes I got rather bored with the annoying nauzac and exhortations to do things on - line) I was eventually answered by a Welsh name with a Welsh accent which was a promising step. 5 or 10 minutes later the relevant booking was made so - on the face of it - the matter is resolved.

        He also agreed (yeah right) that the voice recognition system wasn't entirely perfect.

  5. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Better than things used to be

    The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

    Long ago, before I found refuge in IT, I used to be involved in direct response marketing. We would advertise "Please allow up to 28 days for delivery", and I'm afraid it was not uncommon to miss that deadline. It seems incomprehensible now.

    I agree that Amazon should adhere to the delivery schedule it advertises, but I'm still childishly thrilled when things arrive the day after I order them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better than things used to be

      Frankly, most of the time I don't care if something arrives the next day or in three/four - and anyway if I select delivery to a post office because no one is at home for delivery, it will take a week anyway. Also, I hate you can't ask to have items delivered all together, and you get things delivered three days in a row.

      Given the recent price increase of Prime, I'll drop it when it's up for renewal.

      Anyway, if you advertise "next day delivery", you can't deceive people with small print...

      1. PC Paul

        Re: Better than things used to be

        A completely made-up Amazon spokesman said: "What we actually mean is 'next day starting from the day before it gets delivered".

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Better than things used to be

        I hate you can't ask to have items delivered all together, and you get things delivered three days in a row

        I recently ordered some dental floss from Amazon. It's a fairly low-value item, and it's annoying to run out, so I ordered 10 packs.

        Over the next couple of weeks I received 10 deliveries. Each packet of floss was packed in its own padded envelope (though it's not a breakable item) and individually posted from the Netherlands. Luckily, they were small enough to be pushed through the letterbox.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Better than things used to be

      I think the most important thing is that the mechanics of the delivery should be predictable: in the old days I knew I would have to make a trip to the parcel depot if I placed a telephone or online order and that was a factor in deciding whether to try to source the item locally.

      I prefer to have items delivered to an Amazon locker as I don't have to be in (and there's no surcharge). My local locker is in a shopping centre that closes at 9pm. Amazon's next-day delivery, if it is in fact dispatched on time, is only guaranteed to arrive by 9pm, so the likelihood is that by the time the package is in the locker it's too late to collect it same day. Or, like the other day, Amazon logistics arrive at the shopping centre at 21.03 and claim they've "attempted delivery" when they know full well they've tried to access their own lockers when they're shut.

      And that's not to mention an item recently that bounced backwards and forwards between the M4 corridor and West Yorkshire for a week before finally emerging in the right place.

      There's a whole range of smaller items that are either sold by or fulfilled by Amazon (audio cables, for example) that are not deliverable to lockers: try and you get a message saying the locker is "full", even if it clearly isn't full for much larger items in your order. So you have to order those for home delivery, hoping they come by post and not on an Amazon van as they won't just put the order through your letter box.

      And if you have Prime and you want to place an order but are going to be away for a couple of days, it appears the slower delivery options are not available to you, so you have to go to the inconvenience of diarising your future order for your return.

      It would be a great step forward if Amazon had an option to guarantee delivery by Royal Mail - at least I know when the postman arrives each day. Everything else seems to be a lottery.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Better than things used to be

        On the flip side i have since moving house discovered that local postie and amazon delivery types are aware of my new properties outhouse. Which is also covered by 3 different cctv cameras so even when I'm in stuff keeps getting left in the bog. At least they leave it I suppose and no-one else seems to have gone for a nosy (yet). Just means we have to remember to keep the loo roll stocked up in there sinve needs must..

  6. anothercynic Silver badge

    Most of my Prime is delivered next day...

    ... I must admit that it is something to get easily used to. But, as I commented on another person's reply, Marketplace vendors I don't trust to deliver next day. Ever. When it *does* arrive the next day I'm pleasantly surprised.

    It is kind of nice to be able to still order something at 8pm and know it'll show up at the office the next day (usually just after lunch), which suits me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want next day you pay a premium on price, try clicking the prime option when searching then without, the same item is usually available for a couple of quid less if you wait 3-4 days. It's a con, always has been.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      It's a con, always has been.

      Twice now I have found myself signed up for Prime even when (a) I didn't want it and (b) I went out of my way not to sign up for it. Speaking to others I found that they had similarly been caught out.

      It's not just a con; it's an active and aggressive one to boot.

      1. Mike 125


        >>Speaking to others I found that they had similarly been caught out.


        Next day? Nothing Amazon sells is that important.

        I move stuff from the 'wants' list to the basket, and when it bumps over £20 I place the order. Frequently it's here within 2-3 days.

        Stupid Amazon. Thinks it's so great, giving us what we want when we want it.

      2. RyszrdG

        Happened to me again yesterday. Presented with a semantic choice where either answer entered you into the free trial. I immediately cancelled but it always leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling that they will take the subscription anyway.

      3. anothercynic Silver badge


        Prime pays for itself if you like watching Prime Video, and you order enough stuff you need the next day to cover the delivery. And if they cock up enough of your deliveries for you to really lose your rag at them (and complain to Bezos) they'll credit you enough months to make it worth it even more.

        If you only order something once or thrice a year, then no, it's not worth it :-)

  8. 10forcash

    I can't believe the ASA can't deal more harshly with Amazon, this is exactly the sort of 'First World Problem' that Prime Membership is supposed to get rid of surely?

    p.s. only went 'Prime' to watch Grand Tour and a few other assorted programmes, the 'free delivery' - whether next day or not, is just an added bonus.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      For me

      Grand Tour was the tipping point.

      Also watched a few other series exclusive to them, or only available elsewhere on pay channels, and unlike TPBTV the US stuff is logo free.

      For viewers like me Prime is excellent, and expect to see the streamers (them and Netflix mainly) hurt the established pay satellite companies.

      Next and same day is a nice bonus.

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Snowflakes

      280 snowflakes were a bit upset that ...

      No, 280 people were upset that they had been lied to.If the vendor is up-front about when it will be delivered, then as AC notes earlier on, most of the time it doesn't matter when it's actually delivered. But if you really do want it next day, and the vendor promises delivery next day, then it really should arrive the next day.

      As the article points out, some people will have based their buying decision on delivery times - if you want it urgently, one vendor has next day, another has 3-4 days, then you'll be biased to using the vendor that promises next day. So lying about delivery timescales isn't harmless - it harms consumers and it harms competitors who are honest.

      It really is that simple - if you promise next day delivery then things should arrived the day after ordering. If you can't deliver on that, then don't promise it.

      It's just a pity that the ASA is a toothless foe, it's gummings (it doesn't have the teeth to bite) only ever amount to "don't do that again or we'll tell you not to do it again" - and usually (in the case of ad campaigns) delivered well after teh ad run had finished anyway. About time TPTB gave it some real teeth so telling porkies like Amazon was caught doing actually costs the criminal something that would discourage it.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

        Re: Snowflakes

        "lying about delivery timescales isn't harmless - it harms consumers and it harms competitors who are honest."


    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Snowflakes

      And one extra snowy snowflake thinks that poor Amazon needs a knight in shining armour to defend them from the idiots who believed Amazon’s dross about next day delivery.

      If they can’t deliver next day due to bad weather, all they need to do is advertise “no next day delivery due to bad weather”. So the bad weather is no excuse.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Snowflakes

        I like snowflakes, makes my commute fun.

        Pity the office heating could not cope so I had to leave early anyway.

        That was a fun few days taking the pee out of absent co workers who lived nearer than me.

  10. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    So there's an organisation

    that calls itself an "authority" but is really just a private company. Who do I complain to?

  11. G R Goslin


    Well, I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, and with almost no exceptions, the delivery is indeed the next day. I've looked through my order list and about 80 % is listed as delivery the next day. With some, it's the day after. But, on the other hand, those items tend to have been ordered late in the day, when the logistics of supply, sensibly, could not be co-ordinated with the days delivery. I'm impressed. Added to that, the delivery drivers are almost universally, pleasant, polite, friendly and efficient. A far cry from the old surly, late, and maybe, service from the country's courier services.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Well!!

      80 % means “almost no exceptions “ to you?

      1. G R Goslin

        Re: Well!!

        The 20% is largely non-Amazon sellers, who in many cases, indicate that the goods have been despatched (and can no longer be cancelled), when it is clear from the progress indicator, that the goods have NOT been despatched, but have been paid for. I'm incresingly moving away from goods on Amazon, that are not directly sourced from them. So, call that 98%, Amazon success rate.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've never had a late delivery from them.

    In fact, I've never had a delivery from them.

    I find them too expensive, on the whole.

  13. 0laf Silver badge

    Usually I don't care much, I'll usually take the longer delivery option to gain a £1 credit (unless it's their grocery thing which I've no interest in).

    I have even paid for priority delivery with them only for it to not turn up.

    I've also gained an extra office chair (£35) and a slightly damaged power washer (~£150) for nothing due to fuck ups by their couriers.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Prime Directive

    I wish they'd stop bugging me about this Prime thing. I don't give a crap, I'm never going to sign up for it, so stop pushing it in my face and pre-ticking the "yes I want to sign up" box at the final checkout screen.

    Secondly, I buy books, CDs and DVDs from Amazon. When I go to their web site, I don't want to see a picture of Jeremy Sodding Clarkson trying promoting some damn thing or other.

    For the amount of money I've spent with them over the last twenty years I'd expect Jeff Bozo himself to deliver my parcel on a silver tray.

    1. Mike 125

      Re: The Prime Directive

      >> The Prime Directive. I wish they'd stop bugging me about this Prime thing. I don't give a crap

      ...straight out of James T's memoires.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: James T?

        I thought it was James M

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: The Prime Directive

      If it upsets you that much you could just shop somewhere else.

    3. IsJustabloke Silver badge

      Re: The Prime Directive

      to date I've had 5 "prime trials" I see no reason not to make use of the benefits if they're willing to give them to me for free, I stat the trial and immediately cancel it.

      In exactly the same way that I see no reason not to make use of "interest free periods" , I have the money right now but "they're" willing to wait 6 months for it *shrug* I decide it's better off in my account than theirs. I set up a calendar reminder and always pay before the due date

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: The Prime Directive

      Funny but I signed up due to him!

      When TG with CHM was your favourite TV programme you will do things like that.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So no penalty for false advertising?

    What's the point of monitoring advertising if no penalty is imposed for fraud? Shouldn't Amazon be required to refund treble the price of the service to affected customers? Amazon still reaps huge profits from this program even with failed service promises and refunds.

  16. Richard 36


    I'm more concerned that they are too powerful to be taxed properly

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Tax

      Lets have it then; in what way are they taxed improperly or not according to the law?

  17. TechyLogic


    The problem is, Prime tags were just that, designed to highlight items that were available at a premium for next day. Amazon have started to change the meaning to be "good value".

    I ordered an Iiyama monitor, it had prime tag, i had prime membership.

    3 weeks later the monitor appeared, all i got told was "its being shipped from china, it takes time".

    Prime just seems to be a way they push their items out now, promoting "distributors" over anyone else regardless of any promises on delivery schedules.

    They do genuinely have a lot available for same or next day.... but you have to be VERY careful when ordering (usually says Prime next day on the page but confirms the delivery as X days away when you pay).

    Very sneaky

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: amazon

      What's really annoying is when it says Prime, and then you add gift wrap and a message and suddenly it's not next day delivery.

      No you need to plan ahead for people's birthdays more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: amazon

        No you need to plan ahead for people's birthdays more.

        On the internet, everybody's birthday is January 1.

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: amazon

      "usually says Prime next day on the page but confirms the delivery as X days away when you pay"

      Yeah that's when it gets annoying. I do find it's almost always next day anyway, clearly had a different experience than the complainers.

  18. MrKrotos

    Amazon is crap

    I refuse to use Amazon for the simple reason that the whole process of buying something and checking out takes way too long and is VERY confusing for us NON prime members.

    Tried using it recently for an urgent work item, ended up using a different supplier.

    1. Patrician

      Re: Amazon is crap

      Not sure how it can be made any easier to be honest?

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Amazon is crap

        Not sure how it can be made any easier to be honest?

        Well, the main thing (apart from the fact that the website doesn't seem to like my home computers and often fails, requiring a re-load) is that when as a non-member you go to order, you get a whole-page advert for Prime, "do you wish to take advantage of free next-day delivery" or some such tosh, and the "no thanks" button is in small print right at the bottom. Every time.

        This sort of tactic is of course not exclusive to Amazon, but it's annoying nonetheless.


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019