A delivery worker with a cart full of bagged groceries.

MONEY & BUSINESS: Whole Foods customers sue Amazon for axing free delivery

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Whole Foods customers have slapped Amazon with a pair of lawsuits claiming that the web giant ripped them off when it yanked a free delivery perk at the pricey grocer.

The proposed class-action lawsuits filed in US District Court in Seattle allege that Amazon improperly tacked on an extra $9.95 fee for Whole Foods deliveries that used to be free for Prime members.

Amazon stopped offering free Whole Foods delivery in October, citing increasing labor costs. The retailer also said the fee was in lieu of raising prices.

As reported by The Post, some customers in response have stopped ordering deliveries from the organic grocer, nicknamed “whole paycheck” for its high prices.

One complaint alleges that Amazon violated Washington State’s Consumer Protection Act and its contract with customers. Amazon, according to the complaint, should have lowered its annual fee or given customers a refund for their Prime membership. 

Whole Foods now charges Prime members an extra $9.95 per delivery.
REUTERS

“Individuals signed up for the benefit of Amazon Prime to provide free Whole Foods delivery, at a time when most were avoiding going to stores, and still do,” Thiago Coelho, an attorney at Wilshire Law Firm in Los Angeles representing the plaintiffs, told Insider.

“To strip that benefit from those individuals after gaining additional members and market share is concerning to any member who was induced to sign up exactly for that reason,” Coelho added.

The other complaint accuses Amazon of misleading advertising that promises free delivery without disclosing the extra fees it charges, including the $9.95 delivery charge.

A delivery worker ringing a doorbell, carrying several bags.
Amazon adds a $5 tip to the delivery fee, but the fee is displayed in fine print, according to one complaint.
Taidgh Barron/NY Post

“Amazon engages in a bait-and-switch advertising scheme by not disclosing the $9.95 service fee along with the advertised price of the Whole Foods grocery items,” the lawsuit alleged.

“Amazon advertises groceries from Whole Foods at a certain price and then tacks on a mandatory ‘service fee’ later in the ordering process after the consumer is already invested in the ordering process.”

Amazon automatically adds a $5 tip on each Whole Foods delivery order, according to the advertising complaint. While consumers can opt out of the tip or change it, the text explaining the fee is small and hard to find, the complaint alleges.

In March, Amazon increased its yearly Prime membership fee to $139 from $119.



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