Amazon has apologised to customers in the Republic of Ireland after they were significantly overcharged across multiple product lines on what was supposed to be the first of two days of widely advertised discounts on the site.
For weeks the online retailing giant has been promoting Prime Day – a two -day window billed as the summer-time equivalent of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend in the run-up to Christmas.
Amazon said it was offering millions of deals across all categories with discounts of up to 50 per cent.
However, the “deals” have proved impossible to get for some customers in the Republic who have been asked to pay both UK and Irish taxes on items with the result that some ended up costing more on Prime Day than on a normal day, when no discounts apply.
One shopper in the Republic tried to buy a pair of Samsung headphones with a list price of £89 (€103), which Amazon said was a discount of 44 per cent.
However, at check out he was asked to pay £117.42.
Another customer saw a Fire Stick, which allows people to stream content onto their televisions, advertised at £39.99, a price that included shipping.
However, this customer said “taxes and fees were added to the net UK price (including UK VAT) and then discount applied.”
That resulted in the price jumping to £57.24 at checkout.
A third would-be customer noted Echo Bud had a list price of £49.99, but it jumped to £72.99 at the point of payment, while a Ring Alarm with a list price of £149 cost £202 at checkout.
This customer said “everything above £19 in price is being marked up by huge per centage for Irish delivery.”
An Amazon spokeswoman told The Irish Times there was an issue with pricing for Irish customers and said the company was working to urgently address this,
‘We are aware of an issue where some customers may not have received the full value of a Prime Day deal on some limited items at checkout, if a non-UK delivery address was selected,” she said.
“We are sorry for any inconvenience and we are actively working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We will contact any impacted customers to ensure they receive a full discount.”
Since the start of the year, Irish shoppers using UK-based websites – including amazon.co.uk – have encountered an increased number of obstacles and higher charges.
When the UK left the EU shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve, it suddenly became what is known in trade circles as a “third country”, which meant many of the millions of products that travel to Ireland from its giant warehouses in Britain became liable for a raft of new taxes and charges.
These can add as much as 40 per cent to the cost of certain products, while making delivery delays inevitable and significantly increasing the amount of red tape companies like Amazon have to contend with.
The issue has not deterred Irish shoppers from using UK sites, however, and Amazon is still among the most popular, with hundreds of millions of euro being spent on the site by Irish consumers each year.