HOUSTON — Ah, online shopping! No long lines. And great prices! But are you really getting the best deals?
It seems Amazon Prime members are getting more than just free two-day shipping, according to an investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPubilca. The organization observed 250 commonly purchased products over the course of several weeks and watched to see which were placed in the site's "buy box," which is the highlighted, clickable box that appears at the top of the Amazon product search pages.
The research suggested when non-members search the site, they're getting higher-priced results than those who are members. Nearly 75 percent of the time, Amazon products or those purchased from companies that paid Amazon to store and fill its orders were in the top slot — even if cheaper options were available from other merchandisers.
Some feel that's a tad bit sneaky.
“Amazon should probably give everybody the same benefit, whether you're a member or not," said Varon Balderrama, an occasional Amazon customer.
An Amazon Prime member, Kati Auld begs to differ.
"If you're paying for membership, I think that it's fair to get better search results than people that aren't paying for membership," Auld said.
I guess you get what you pay for. But wait, you're paying more for the same products!
"Amazon is such a big company," customer Rita Farrar said. "I'm sure they can afford to give a good price to everybody.
Everybody is trying to make money nowadays, Micah Grace said. Grace is also an Amazon Prime member.
"It's just like if you're not trying to grow your profit margin or anything like that you're gonna get left behind," he added.
So next time you're browsing the internet in your undies, you may want to do some price checking before you check out.