Why I'm boycotting Amazon and where I'm going instead

Ed Bowsher
by Lovemoney Staff Ed Bowsher on 14 April 2012  |  Comments 92 comments

Don't let Amazon take over the world! There are loads of great alternatives.

Why I'm boycotting Amazon and where I'm going instead

Amazon is a great company in many ways. It led the way in the online retail revolution and has offered quality goods at low prices. I reckon I’ve spent at least £1,500 there over the years – and that’s just on books and entertainment.

But I’m not going to shop there anymore. Here’s why:

1. Amazon pays very little tax in the UK

Amazon generated sales of £3.3 billion in the UK last year but didn’t pay a penny in corporation tax. The company is under investigation by the tax authorities.

This kind of behaviour sticks in my craw. I’d prefer to support businesses that give at least a little bit back to the UK.

2. It’s killing bookshops

I used to really enjoy browsing in small, cozy bookshops where an unexpected pleasure was always waiting on the next shelf. But it’s getting harder to do that because high street bookshops are dying. Borders and Books Etc have disappeared and they aren’t alone.

Between 2005 and 2011 the number of high street bookshops fell by 20% according to the Booksellers’ Association. The number of independent shops fell by 26%.

Now I admit that Amazon isn’t the only reason bookshops have been closing. Aggressive supermarkets have also played a role, but Amazon and the web in general have played a major part in this.

3. Amazon is just too powerful

It’s never healthy if one player in a market becomes too powerful. Consumers benefit for a while as prices stay low, but eventually, the dominant player becomes so strong, it can do pretty much as it pleases.

If we get to that stage in the UK book market, you can expect to pay higher prices and have less choice as fewer new titles are published.

Amazon has 70% of the online printed book market and was allowed last year to buy one of its strongest competitors, The Book Depository. That purchase has probably taken Amazon’s market share close to 75%.

And, of course, Amazon is even stronger in the ebook market. Ebook sales already account for 20% of UK book sales, and the Amazon Kindle has something like 70-90% of that market (I’ve been told different figures by people in the publishing industry).

Publishers are scared by Amazon’s power and I think that fear is well-founded.

It’s also worth noting that Amazon’s competitors are very critical of the company. You might say that’s just sour grapes and not a dispassionate view, but the level of criticism is both extreme and plausible.

Here’s just one quote from James Daunt, the CEO of Waterstone’s:

"They [Amazon] never struck me as being a sort of business in the consumer's interest. They're a ruthless, money-making devil."   

Where am I going to go instead?

I’m not going to completely give up on online purchases, but I’m going to try and buy more books on the high street.

Yes, high street prices are normally higher than the best online prices, but the differences often aren’t as great as you might expect. And I’m happy to pay a bit more in return for enjoying the whole bookshop experience.

And even when I do go online, I won’t have to pay much more than the Amazon price. At least for now. Here’s a random selections of books and CDs and their different prices at various retailers:

Book prices

Book

Amazon (physical)

Amazon Kindle

Waterstone’s Online

Waterstone’s store

Bookstore.co.uk

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

£3.99 (paperback)

£3.46

£4.79

(paperback)

£7.99

£5.59

(paperback)

The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)

£5.59 (paperback)

 

£4.94

Not available

£7.99

£5.59

(paperback)

I Am What I Am (John Barrowman)

£5.68

(paperback)

£4.72

Not available

£7.99

£5.59

(paperback)

War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)

£1.49

(Wordsworth paperback)

49p

£1.99

(Wordsworth paperback)

£9.99 (Vintage)

£1.39

(Wordsworth paperback)

The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics

(Richard  Koo)

£11.04 (paperback)

£9.94

£14.44

Not available

£11.89

(paperback)

The Amazon prices that I’ve quoted are for books offered by the site itself, not by other sellers on Amazon Marketplace.

Overall, I’d say that Amazon tends to be cheapest, but others don’t do badly. I’ve used Bookstore.co.uk and have had good experiences. Moving away from the table, I also like base.com and the Foyles website.

Going forward, I also intend to use Bestbookprice.co.uk, where you can compare the best prices for books, CDs and DVDs. Interestingly, when it comes to bestsellers, branches of WHSmith often offer very competitive prices.

Let’s look at some CD prices:

album

Amazon

HMV online

(no MP3)

HMV Store

Play.com

iTunes

(all MP3)

7digital

(all MP3)

21 - Adele

CD £6.99

MP3 £7.49

Cd £10

 

£10

CD £6.99

MP3 £7.99

£7.99

£7.99

MDNA - Madonna

CD £8.99

MP3 £8.49

Cd £10

£10

CD £8.99

MP3 £9.99

£8.99

£7.99

Revolver - Beatles

CD £7.04

(no MP3)

Cd £6.49

£15

CD £9.99

(no MP3)

£10.99

Unavailable

Gold – ABBA

CD £7.89

MP3 £7.49

Cd £4.99

£7

CD £4.97

MP3 £7.99

£8.99

£5.99

Rachmaninov piano concertos 1-4 (Ashkenazy)

CD £7.49

MP3 £7.49

Unavailable

Unavailable

CD £7.49

(no MP3)

£7.99

£7.49

Once again, Amazon is often the cheapest but not always.

Boycott

So the point is if you boycott Amazon, you should still be able to buy CDs and books at decent prices.

Now I know that sceptics will wonder why I’m worried about Amazon’s excessive market share when the consumer still seems to be benefitting. Just remember that Amazon could become even stronger in the next few years and that’s when the consumer might really start to suffer.

I should add that I know that Amazon sells many more products than just books and music. I’ve focused on these two areas for reasons of space but also because Amazon doesn’t appear to be as dominant in most other retail markets.

Anyway, my boycott has started. Are you going to join me? Let us know in the comments box below.

More on shopping:

Alcohol pricing plan to hit low income households hardest

Addicted to Apple? A sucker for Starbucks? The big brands that bankrupt us

Improve your bargaining skills: how to haggle

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Comments (92)

  • roryreynolds
    Love rating 4
    roryreynolds said

    I really do sympathise with what you have said, but by choosing a bookshop like Waterstones aren't you in danger of perpetuating the same basic issues to which you reacting in boycotting Amazon. Why not seek out the independent bookseller and advocate that?

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  • jnklist
    Love rating 0
    jnklist said

    I just don't use Amazon very often because they rarely are cheaper than elsewhere for the items I want.

    I always check the prices offered in sucker mails (sorry email shots) before purchasing and frequently find things cheaper elsewhere because items on "special" offer are generally reduced end of line elsewhere too.

    Maybe I don't see the Amazon cheaper music & books because I've better things to spend my money on.

    But I get your point on Tax - any revenue earned in the UK should be taxed in the UK so I agree - hit them where it hurts and boycott them.

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  • luvumillions
    Love rating 5
    luvumillions said

    I have shopped with Amazon since 2006 and regularly buy books, cd's, shoes, electronic devices & accessories and other household items. In fact before every purchase I make, I first check Amazon for availability & price before making my way to the high street......

    That was until I heard the figures of 3.3billion and ZERO tax and immediately decided that amazon would not make one more penny from me

    Financially our country is on its knee's and it's only a matter of time before we no longer have benefits such as our National Health Service available free on demand. As it stands, nurses are paid relatively small salaries compared to the work and hours that they do and most wards that I have visited are extremely short staffed

    If we support businesses who use loopholes to avoid supporting our economy then we face the real situation of a pay on demand NHS, so only those that can afford treatment will receive treatment.

    I have used the NHS as an example because this is the change that I fear most

    So the answer is yes, I am definitely joining you in the boycott against Amazon and any other business that I find to be using legal loopholes to avoid supporting OUR country

    It's time to stand up and make a difference

    P.s. My other bug bare is professional sportsmen and businessmen buying property in the Isle of Man to avoid paying Uk tax. I love motorcycle racing but cannot support these Brits who do not help support our country.

    #closetheloopholes

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  • tony the otter
    Love rating 2
    tony the otter said

    Why not try abebooks.com or abebooks.co.uk? Most of the books mentioned in the article you can get for their minimum price of $1.00 (currently 63p) plus postage of around £1.89. OK, it'll be second hand, but you can contact the seller directly to check condition if it's not clear from the book description. And quite a few of the sellers are small independents.

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  • bentoth
    Love rating 3
    bentoth said

    i've decided to boycott Amazon until they pay their way. It will be hard. I'm switching to the Book Depository to help ease the transition http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/

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  • amips
    Love rating 16
    amips said

    We've stopped using Amazon because they use myHermes in a lot of cases to deliver the goods. They often arrive damaged. We've had parcels left in our wheelie bin when we were out, with no note through letterbox - guess what happened when next day was collection day for the bin! Then, because Hermes said it had been delivered, we were unable to get a credit. This has happened to lots of people (Google "Hermes service") sometimes having lost hundreds of pounds for items like Playstations etc.

    There are lots of other alternatives out there, so support a company that DOES pay UK tax and help us all get the country back to normal again!

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  • lizzytuk
    Love rating 4
    lizzytuk said

    I have been thinking the same.

    I have a small company and pay what I consider to be a large amount in Corporation tax.

    I find it quite unbelievable that HM Revenue has not tackled this before, they are certainly onto me if there are any slight desprepencies with tax or PAYE. I suppose its easier to attack the small guys.

    I wont be using Amazon again but they aren't the only large company to do this, what other ones are there?

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  • Marigold53
    Love rating 2
    Marigold53 said

    I agree we are manouvered into a pen by companies like Amazon, we're herded like sheep and we fall for it !! But what is the alternative.....whoever you choose to shop with, vote for, deal with in any way shape or form has an agenda - which is TO GET RICH, TO BECOME THE BIGGEST AND BEST IN THE WORLD, AND THE QUICKER THE BETTER !!! Right now, while I'm typing this, I'm being bombarded by adverts for a bank which, in my personal experience, is doing EXACTLY the same thing, and to add insult to injury, the customer service is dreadful, but we still use them !! Methinks this poor "little" world of ours is suffering badly along with society in general. Shop with morality, difficult but not impossible !!

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  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    i think that you are a very small minority of people decided to make such a huge change - and that you also can afford it. i cannot. with low income, i do not buy many books, nor music (havent bought music for couple of years, i am off the track now) and as being a student, i heavily depend on cheaper options - second hand text books from abebooks, as already mentioned above. when i need something, i shop around and look for cheaper options, such as e-bay or twenga. or use the promotion in the real shops. i click on surveys and exchange the points for a supermarket gift card - to buy food. this matters to me the most. previously i used to exchange them for the amazon vouchers and used it for the shopping (of books, before i discovered abebooks). i have actually sold two items via amazon and was not pleased for the charge by them. when i learned today that they do not pay taxes here, that made me to see amazon in a different way. but still, if they have something cheaper than somewhere else, i will go for it. every penny counts. to me. good luck to the rest of you.

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  • Intelligent
    Love rating 2
    Intelligent said

    Where Amazon score highly is on customer service. Yesterday i missed a delivery from DPD of a TV stand by 5 minutes because i had to go to the doctor. The driver must have been just around the corner, but the missed delivery note did not give his phone no., just a call centre with re-delivery options that did not suit me. Their Thetford depot, 40 minutes drive away do not have a listing in the phone book so i could not ring them. They dont work on a Saturday so i was going to have to wait until Monday for a re-delivery.

    I visited Amazon customer service on their website and booked a call-back which came in 5 minutes. A charming girl listened patiently to the problem, sympathised with my dilemma and said she would contact DPD to arrange a re-delivery in the afternoon. She rang back to confirm a delivery time between 3.30 and 4.30 and it duly arrived at 4.15. The driver even broke the H&S rules by helping me to carry the large packet up my stairs.

    I suspect that DPD will lose their Amazon contract when it comes up for renewal because they are not customer orientated are uncontactable at a human level and wont work on Saturdays.

    The TV stand is great and Amazon were a few pounds cheaper than John Lewis, but the key difference is i got my delivery when i wanted it, not a week later, I spoke to a real person on the phone and for once had a pleasant customer service experience.

    I agree with those concerned about the demise of book shops, but their salvation lies in learning the customer service lesson from Amazon. When Waterstone's staff are as helpful and well trained as Amazon's i will happily buy a book from them.

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  • deddajay
    Love rating 2
    deddajay said

    There seems to be a bit of a backlash against Amazon at the moment. If they are avoiding paying tax in the UK then morally it's not right but it will be by legal means and will be up to UK Gov to change the laws to prevent loopholes. I'm sure they are not the only company trading in the UK to do this, just one with a very high profile.

    As for the rest, the small bookshops in my area had already gone before Amazon got so strong. We used to have a wonderful independent store that was taken over by Waterstones. Due to work and family commitments I don't have time to browse these days, so apart from food shopping nearly everything I buy is online and Amazon is always my first stop. I do, however, shop around and if Amazon is more expensive I will buy elsewhere. They do have the edge on ebooks because they have sold more Kindles than other ebook brands, but that is because other brands are so much more expensive. I have a Sony Reader, which was several times the cost of the Kindle, but I bought my first one before the Kindle came to the UK and stuck with the brand because it has better features than the Kindle. There are ways of format shifting, so I still buy ebooks from Amazon but also from the Kobo store (formerly W H Smiths) and other places. Waterstones selection is usually very limited and more expensive.

    It seems to me that there is a lot of sour grapes towards Amazon, but they have built their business on price, availability and extremely good customer service - one of the best I have come across. It is up to competitors to match that if they want the same customer loyalty. I for one will continue to use Amazon until it no longer suits me to do so.

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  • Megatyte
    Love rating 25
    Megatyte said

    @bentoth

    Amazon own The Book Depository. They took them over sometime last year.

    A H

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  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    yes, after reading a good experience with customer service of amazon, i must admit, they do the job just right. i had once a problem with delivery and it was sorted surprisingly quickly.

    another time, when the item was not delivered to me by a neglective royal mail postman, it was waiting for me in the depot but i did not know for some time, then when i went for it, it was on its way back to the seller. by that time i was communicating with amazon and after all i found out that i was entitled to refund by amazon (the seller was a third party). so i did accept it. then it was just between the two of them. excellent customer service, i must say. and this makes even more people to go for amazon, that is their strategy. and they are successful, no wonder.

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  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Very interesting reading, but how about a comparative list of the percentages of turnover paid in Corporation Tax by other on-line and high street retailers? How much, for example, do ASDA and TESCO pay in taxes and what clever tax schemes do they regularly use?

    Ebay and Paypal have their European base in Luxembourg too....

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  • r
    Love rating 98
    r said

    As deddajay says, if Amazon are doing it legally, then why is there a problem? I presume they are paying tax in Luxembourg? I use online shopping because it is a better experience than the High Street shops. The level of customer service on the English High Street is generally appalling and, until our shops wake up to this, online retailing will flourish. Your article suggests that Amazon will overtake the smaller shops and then the prices will go up. This is the free market working properly; when that happens, other retailers will come back in and start undercutting. Look at the history of Tesco - which started as a discount supermarket and has, for several years, been overcharging and losing market share (=losing customers). I usually buy where I get the best deal and that isn't necessarily the lowest price.

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  • luvdo
    Love rating 1
    luvdo said

    I gave up on Amazon too when I got ripped off. I ordered 2 books and only one arrived, I was told the other was on order. After waiting ages and asking for a refund they told me I was out of time to reclaim my money. I of course protested but the cost of the book which was around £10 meant it just wasn't worth the fight, and they knew it. How cheap can you get?

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  • earthmother
    Love rating 5
    earthmother said

    There is not the faintest chance that I will boycott Amazon.

    As successive governments failed to close a tax loophole Amazon have not paid tax on what they have earned, and this is Amazons fault how? Should we now all boycott Barclays Bank for the £500 million in taxes that they owe?

    Like Meduza78, I am also on a very tight budget, due to ill health rather than being a student and also answer surveys but to collect Amazon vouchers, having no bank account and no credit card it is almost impossible to buy on-line anywhere other than Amazon. Books and music are luxuries that I can no longer afford, but 90% of my grand -childrens birthday and Yule presents come from Amazon, without them the children would get very little from me.

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  • LynnB
    Love rating 1
    LynnB said

    I have stopped using Amazon after a delivery was left outside, in full view of the street, when we were away for a week. I was not at all pleased and e-mailed Amazon, but of course got no reply.

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  • culluding-fool
    Love rating 60
    culluding-fool said

    I'm puzzled here. What happens to the 20% VAT that Amazon charge, doesn't that go to the UK government? I agree that they should pay UK corporate tax if they are based in UK but how is that done if they aren't based in UK? I assume they pay corporate tax wherever they are based. I'm assuming that they don't have a UK branch. If you started a business and sold your products or services to other countries, would you expect to pay tax for earnings from those countries according to their own business tax laws on top of the taxes you would be paying in UK? If that were the case with all countries then it would work out far cheaper to buy local made. Wouldn't that be nice ;-)

    I only buy from Amazon of they are cheaper than anywhere else, I am very price driven these days, but when it comes to books I rarely spend anything. The library is an excellent service and is free. I have requested books that they don't have and they buy them for me. I can keep books as long as I like and don't have to store them when I am finished with them. I am also helping to save the planet by not encouraging the printing of more books than necessary. There are the odd books I like to buy to keep but they are the likes of dictionaries, encyclopaedia, etc. There has never been a book that I have wanted that the local library hasn't been able to supply me.

    As for book shops, the last time I saw one was when I visited London. Do they still exist outside the big cities? I don't know of any around where I live. We do have WH Smith but I wouldn't call that a book shop. We also have plenty of charity shops selling used books, but a shop dedicated to selling new books as their main line of business I haven't seen for years.

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  • peter48
    Love rating 5
    peter48 said

    Absolutely agree with all points- I have switched to Waterstones.com and been happy to find competitive prices for example in economics, sociology & politics as cheap as Amazon. Interestingly enough my first purchase was "The Precariat- the new dangerous class" which is all about how so many people today are drifting into precarious jobs, contracts and likelywise poverty while employers use globalisation as the main excuse. More than ever we need to collect the rightful amounts of tax so we too can live the better lives that apply in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany and France. Not for them the extremes of the Anglo-Saxon economies with far deeper inequality and ugly social breakdown in inner cities.

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  • jedi44
    Love rating 43
    jedi44 said

    I always thought that Amazon customer service was very good, until my last experience. There seem to be so many different departments in the company that don't communicate with each other. I have been trying to get a simple item, a stapler, from them for over a month, have had the wrong one sent 3 times and am still waiting for an explanation, let alone the stapler I ordered. Please ignore the rest of this post unless you are a really sad person who likes to listen to other folks' rants.

    3/3 Ordered stapler.

    5/3 Dispached.

    7/3 Wrong stapler arrived. Returns procedure followed asking for replacement.

    7/3 Apology from A who need to carry out "physical check" with their fulfillment centre.

    15/3 Email saying processing refund, although I asked for replacement.

    15/3 Email credit note.

    15/3 Acknowledgement of return receipt saying if replacement NOT requested a refund email would follow.

    19/3 Email saying research shows item returned and refund issued. Sorry, can't replace after refund. Please re-order.

    19/3 Re-ordered but now more expensive.

    19/3 Email saying refunding me postage and price difference.

    19/3 2nd stapler dispached.

    24/3 Wrong stapler arrived again.

    24/3 I told them I wanted the correct stapler and THEN I would return this one.

    24/3 Email saying sorry, please return.

    24/3 Email saying sorry, please return, we will investigate and get back to you.

    26/3 3rd wrong stapler arrived.

    26/3 I complained yet again and returned numbers 2 & 3 asking for replacement.

    29/3 Email saying sorry, refund has been issued.

    29/3 Credit note.

    29/3 Email receipt of return.

    14/4 Still waiting!

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  • morefoolyou
    Love rating 0
    morefoolyou said

    Am I going to join you.....erm No!

    1) It doesnt pay enough UK tax -Is this the only company you ever use that does not pay enough UK tax?

    2) It is killing UK bookshops -This is 2012 things are moving on if they are cheaper customers will use them!

    3) It is too powerful -This argument is one of my pet hates. There is something about Britain that doesnt like companies becoming too big and having a large market share -Tesco springs to mind are you boycotting Tesco?

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  • environmentaljan
    Love rating 8
    environmentaljan said

    We are fortunate in Royal Wootton Bassett to have our own high street book shop with excellent service (Bassett Books - there's a surprise) . They do have special offers with most books ordered in the shop with in 24 hours and what's more the owners will deliver them around the town. Phone orders are accepted too so even my housebound b=neighbour can use them.

    It;s a friendly place, part of the community and it's great for children to be able to go in and find books,

    So Amazon may often be cheaper but they don't come with the personal touch and in-depth knowledge. There is a way for independent book shops to survive they just have yo provide the right services.

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  • nitnot
    Love rating 5
    nitnot said

    NO! I will most certainly NOT boycot Amazon! I will no more boycot them than Tesco, Waitrose or the other sumarkets I use regularly. In fact I do virtually all my shopping on line as this is the modern and efficient way! I have no wish to punt around numerous specialist high street shops virtually every day as did my late mother both before and after the war! Time is far too precious and my mum thought supermarkets fantastic, particularly their home delivery service! So do I! Progress and change is an inevitable and irresistible tide and resistance is futile and doomed to fail as Canute discovered many years ago! Progress must be embraced and exploited to the benefit of each and every one of us because there lies the route to the very survival of mankind!

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  • jturpin
    Love rating 1
    jturpin said

    Amazon also have a very poor customer service. It is based in the Philippines I believe and invariably the line is poor and the English is dreadful. Beware of Amazon marketplace as Amazon care not a jot about poor service from their providers and always refer you back to the store in question. This applies even if the activities of the store are illegal in the UK, they just take their cut from the purchase price and ignore complaints. The credit card debit goes through Amazon first and is passed on but you try getting a refund or any kind od satisfaction from Amazon and you will be grievously disappointed.

    I'm all fro using alternatives!

    John Turpin

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  • windra
    Love rating 6
    windra said

    I have to disagree,Amazon's size means that it can consistently offer the lowest cost and largest range of goods, available for immediate delivery(I have PRIME and have always been impressed with the service).

    I always shop around but it isn't often that my first stop at Amazon doest end up being my place of purchase as they are usually significantly better value than both high-street and on-line retailers. I have found their customer service to be Excellent and their returns policy generous. In fact they often go the extra mile for example arranging courier collection of faulty goods.

    I buy a lot of books and find that amazon and its market place can beat almost any source on price for common books including ebay, charity shops and highstreet stores.

    If I wan't some friendly advice I may visit an independent retailer, but it seems ludicrous to go out of my way, spend MUCH more money and risk poor customer service to boycott a company that as far as i am concerned has for filled every expectation of its customer.

    In the linked article it states 'HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) refused to confirm it was investigating Amazon.co.uk, and its inquiries could be a routine audit' - It may seem unfair that the company has not paid certain taxes, but if they are abiding by the law then perhaps it's the law that requires changing. I hardly think any reader of this article would pay any of their hard earned cash to the government if they didn't have to.

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  • peter48
    Love rating 5
    peter48 said

    One or two Amazon lovers are saying that Amazon's competitiveness is a reason for their dominance and customer loyalty compared to UK typically based companies . Not so when all this broke last week it was a big shock to many but as Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK - invited onto radio 4 ( as this was big news for the intelligentsia, shakers, movers, politicians and others who listen to the Today Programme) - claimed that Amazon's operations in the UK are very large indeed and the UK government need to find out why Corporation tax is not being paid moreover its grossly unfair as Amazon's competitors are paying corporation tax and those that are being hit hard are often closing down removing UK jobs. You and I are of course are paying tax so that fire engines or ambulances can deal with potential problems like accidents at Amazon's many large sites. Richard Murphy pleaded for a Level Playing Field.

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  • RocketSteve
    Love rating 32
    RocketSteve said

    Perhaps it's not a measure of how much cheaper Amazon is but how much more expensive high street shops are. Why? Rip-off rents by councils and property owners.

    So I heard Amazon have a warehouse in the UK, but you buy the item(s) in Luxemburg. So would that work if a high street shop registered in Luxemburg and then customers would go in to the shop and use a terminal to buy from Lux and then collect their purchase? (VAT and Corp Tax free?)

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  • Mike10613
    Love rating 626
    Mike10613 said

    We should ask how much tax all multinational operating in the UK are paying. I suspect Amazon isn't alone in under paying tax. How much do Google pay? These companies expand fast because they pay so little tax. Look at any company that is expanding quickly and their tax affairs should be looked at carefully.

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  • yocoxy
    Love rating 152
    yocoxy said

    Is delivery included in the tables above? I've yet to see Amazon beat Play.com's all in price on anything I've ordered..

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  • gavinb
    Love rating 30
    gavinb said

    No such thing as a free lunch. We want everything cheap as chips and then complain when retailers don't pay enough tax. However, Ed, the consumer would pay it in the final analysis, especially as Amazon has elbow room to raise prices.

    BTW, Amazon has started to exploit a VAT loophole by locating it's EU headquarters in Luxembourg. It now effectively charges VAT at 3% on e-books, whereas Waterstone's and other local retailers have to charge 20%.

    Hasn't the internet made life complicated?

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  • leah AKA global leah
    Love rating 17
    leah AKA global leah said

    I have got to say that I won't boycott Amazon, not because of their atrocious prices, because to be honest, I do enough surveys and instead of getting payment of cash, I get Amazon E-Vouchers instead, so there is no chance of me spending the "payment". I do "buy" from Amazon on a regular basis, but only for things that I can't buy cheaper from anywhere else, which are usually strange colour hair dye and bleaching agents.

    The only thing that I don't agree with Amazon is the fact that if you were to buy from multiple things from ONE seller, they can't give you a discount like you can from Ebay, and I did only find this out a few days ago when I emailed the seller, they told me that because of Amazon's settings, they can't give postage discounts, BUT if I was to ring them, they are quite happy to give me 10% discount. But as I didn't want to spend "money", I discard their offer... for now... but when I run out of E-Vouchers, I will be happy to bypass Amazon and buy direct.

    Books and musics, I have always buy from retail shops rather than online, because I like to "feel" it and see it, then if it gets damaged in any form when I take it home, I know it will be my own fault.

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  • OorWullie
    Love rating 38
    OorWullie said

    Why the grudge against Amazon; many items that I purchase through the Internet are from other countries and at times, even with VAT and the extortionate charges that the Post Office levy for charging VAT before delivering, are often cheaper and sometimes of better quality. Like everything in commerce, as a private individual on a low income, I too am keen to cut costs and I am not concerned how this is achieved. It is okay to wear Union Jack underpants but not when there is a personal sacrifice by doing so.

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  • nickpike
    Love rating 309
    nickpike said

    Get a grip Britain. I don't think it makes a blind bit of difference to us individually what tax systems companies use. Tax is used inefficiently (I bet all government expenditure does not meet totally with your agreement) and has stagnated the UK for decades. If we had more sensible tax levels, we'd probably have more companies operating here and paying tax, including Amazon.

    What I'm interested in is getting my money to stretch as far as possible. This makes more efficient use of my money and means more for other purchases. Multiply this up a few million times and makes for a more efficient retailing system.

    I find Amazon is usually the best price, free delivery and fantastic customer service, the best by a long shot. I can only sing Amazon's praises. I also like the ability to read and write customer reviews. These are very informative and are part of my buying decision process.

    Their turn-over is massive. Just goes to show that a lot of people use them, so they must be doing things right.

    Report on 15 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • purplepanda
    Love rating 0
    purplepanda said

    Amazon has become as successful as they are, partly due to their low prices but mostly due to their outstanding customer service. In all the years I've been dealing with them I have had nothing but excellent service and I can't think of a single other company I can say that about. All Amazon products (not third party) can be shipped to a UK address free of charge, no minimum spend. They will ship free to other European countries if you spend a minimum of £25. Not happy with your item? A free phone call later and a replacement will be winging it's way to you straight away, Amazon will trust you to send the original parcel back to them within a month and returning it will be free too. Hate having to call companies because their call centre is usually in Asia and you usually need to press 100 buttons to get through to the correct dept? With Amazon you can speak to a native English speaker and you will get through straight away. Why run the risk of buying from other online companies knowing something can go wrong when you can be confident that Amazon will fix the problem without causing you further issues? Companies who treat their customers this well deserve to be successful.

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  • steve1953
    Love rating 0
    steve1953 said

    Only this week my son tried to buy 2 books from Amazon. The cost of the books was just over £7, a very reasonable price he thought. When he went to the checkout Amazon whacked on a massive £17 for postage. I suggested that he try play.com where he eventually bought both books for less than £4 (albeit second hand) with free postage.

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  • Offa
    Love rating 40
    Offa said

    Amazon are only one compnay that pays little or no tax. Google are just the same. Do not forget Vodaphone being 'let off' billions of tax, and of course the merchant banks. The government dare not touch them as they perhaps provide party funding and jobs for when politicans get chucked out?

    Capitalism may look wonderful and successful but underneath it is pure exploitation . You may be getting cheaper goods but you are paying the tax they are not paying as the government endlessly screw the ones left with any money - now the pensioners are being targetted.

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  • gavinb
    Love rating 30
    gavinb said

    Offa - I don't we should be too harsh on Vodafone. Back in 2000 they paid £6bn for a 3G licence, straight into government coffers. The total for 'the biggest auction ever' was £22bn. Ten years later the outgoing treasurer leaves a note saying there is no money left. Mindblowing.

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  • squareeyes
    Love rating 2
    squareeyes said

    Seize their assets, freeze their bank accounts (well that wont be easy as they are probably abroad). Redistribute the assets and market share amongst the other tax paying members in the UK publishing industry. Turn Amazon into a distribution business which works for the industry not against it.

    We took away the book price protection because we thought it was unfair when in fact the politicians behind that change should be investigated for collusion and profiteering.

    I cant believe I'm about to say this in particular but, not paying tax undermines the very basis of society. Without society there is no market.

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  • jamiecfc1
    Love rating 42
    jamiecfc1 said

    Amazon's philosophy when they first started was that they were going to be the biggest, however long it took, to the extent that the investors financed the huge losses that they made for the first few years with the ongoing belief that they would, eventually, make money. Along the way of course this whale of a Company swallowed up a lot of smaller ones, effectively increasing its share in the market (and eliminating the opposition). Quite why they have never been referred to the M&M commission - nobody seems to know. What scares me slightly more is the number of traders on marketplace who cannot be making any money out of what they sell, especially on new products. As someone who has sold with Amazon their charges make Ebay look positively reasonable...

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  • naednhoj
    Love rating 6
    naednhoj said

    I did not know they avoided paying UK tax. I will avoid Amazon from now on. In any event they have just let me down on an order so goodbye amazon

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  • r
    Love rating 98
    r said

    squareeyes: Shouldn't you be living in Russia or North Korea?

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  • tchapman
    Love rating 0
    tchapman said

    Why pick on Amazon, there are other well known large supermarkets who are carving up town centres with their out of town stores and online shops and very aggressive marketing along with monitoring what you buy when you use your store/club point card. If we want to preserve our town centres shop locally, as they say use it or lose it.

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  • padv
    Love rating 1
    padv said

    If you earn money in this country, then you should pay tax in this country.

    Simples. squeaks.

    And what's that rubbish about "should live in Russia or North Korea" ? Try evading your Tax in Russia or North Korea!

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  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    r and offa have alternate use of the brain cell, it would seem.

    Capitalism is wonderful and successful. Name one wonderful and successful country which is not capitalist. True socialism would give to each according to their effort, a fantastic theory. That would also mean a good proportion of the skiving non-workers in this country starving to death.

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  • leah AKA global leah
    Love rating 17
    leah AKA global leah said

    @Steve1953... I have never bought anything from Amazon's own company and having to pay for any postage, and I'm sure there are other satisfied customers says the same... the only thing that I can come up with your son having to pay the hefty postage, it would be he didn't click on the "free postage" which normally takes 7-10 days rather than than 3 days or less (I can't remember for sure) The only time you would have to pay for the postage and packing will be from a seller that uses Amazon's services.

    I have also got to agree with PurplePanda, Amazon's service is fantastic, I bought an external hard drive a few months ago, it promptly stopped working in less than 48 hours, I emailed Amazon, explained the problem and asked them what to do, they promptly replied within 12hours and told me there will be a replacement sent and also a link to print the return address. All that was done within 3 days, so I am actually more than happy with their service..

    I can't diss Ebay either, because they have been good to my "demands" too... I think with anything that you buy online, there will always be someone who will get a bad experience, then go on to put the company down.

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  • wilkis
    Love rating 0
    wilkis said

    What about the other companies that were highlighted as not paying as much as expected. Take a look at http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2012/04/15/how-come-the-big-business-tax-gap-is-12-billion-a-year-when-they-and-hmrc-deny-it/ if the link doesn't work then Google for amazon ebay apple dont pay tax, and oh yes Google is in there too.

    However wrong or immoral this may appear it's legal. All they are doing is what everyone else would do in their position…employing the best people they can to save them the most money.

    I wonder if any of this would have mattered so much had the govt not ran out of cash.

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  • Farab
    Love rating 24
    Farab said

    No, I won't be joining the boycott. Cheap prices, fast delivery and excellent customer service (best and easiest return procedures ever). On the other hand I have not found a single high street retailer over the last 5 years (that I actually bought from) that had staff that knew what they were doing or were interested at all in customer service/loyalty.

    So, taking the above into consideration, I'm not surprised at all that they have such a big market share. They are doing exactly what the British have been asking for for years, because so many people were let down by unnecessarily high prices and poor customer service.

    And what has the government done to tackle poor customer service and rogue traders ... nothing! That's why you see these rogue traders being exposed on TV (investigated by people other than the government/police), just for them to open a new company under a different name to continue their dodgy dealings. So, I don't have a problem with the fact that one of the companies I can shop with without having to worry about anything, is not paying any tax, because they've created a safe environment for consumers without the help from the government.

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  • anonyy
    Love rating 18
    anonyy said

    You may all call for loophole to close but if they start to pay tax guess what; the price you would pay for item would go up, so much so, they would no longer be competitive. They could close down all factories here and take it all to china, or some other tax haven to reduce costs and keep market share.

    In the end UK PLC will not win.

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  • mavql
    Love rating 0
    mavql said

    I agree with Farab. When you can get free next day delivery (albeit for a minimal annual fee) on pretty much any product you can think of, for less money than almost all of their competitors, why would you go anywhere else. I understand the concerns about tax payments, but until customer service, delivery & returns are as easy as Amazon's elsewhere on the web, I will be shopping where I always do.

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  • weecountyman
    Love rating 1
    weecountyman said

    As above, plus - for years High Street stores (such as booksellers) have been ripping off the public, simply because there was little or no competition.

    The internet has opened up new buying options for the man in the street.

    It's here to stay.

    If we all had the salary of the CEO of Waterstone's then we could afford to buy at his outlets more often.

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  • R.M.Edwards
    Love rating 0
    R.M.Edwards said

    I have bought at least £2000-£3000 since trading amazon with free delivery & low costs & reasonable back up.Peoples choice is up to them,so I will still be buying.

    Thanks Amazon. R.M.E.

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  • OllMcDoll
    Love rating 7
    OllMcDoll said

    I use Amazon and here's how I use it.

    1, I hear about a book that I'm interested in buying,

    2, I find it on Amazon and get the ISBN number (or just the correct spelling of title and author)

    3, I telephone my local bookshop (ten minutes away in the car/twenty minute walk) to see if they have it in stock, (They're GREAT! I LOVE 'em!)

    4, If they have it I pop down and buy it, if they don't I place an order for it (With NO obligation to buy.)

    5,(assuming I've called by midday) my book is there in the bookshop from the FOLLOWING day!

    No p&p, no cost of returns, (If I change my mind I don't have to buy it) and overnight is CONSIDERABLY quicker than Amazon ESPECIALLY as I don't have to stay in the house on the off-chance the postman may or may not turn up. I just pop down to the shop at my next convenience.

    Also the the staff are REALLY nice people (Yup, it's an independent bookshop NOT a chain) and they are very knowledgeable about books and consequently are able to make intelligent, informed recommendations as a pose to automatic, computerised "recommendations" which all to often seem to recommend buying things I've already bought!

    If anyone's interested it's called The Village Bookshop and it's in Dulwich village

    (No I DON'T work for them but I AM a big fan!)

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  • deanrobinson78
    Love rating 20
    deanrobinson78 said

    Let me get this right.....

    You want us to drive to a store, using over priced petrol, struggling to find a parking space (pay for that too) and wait in huge queues (I.e. HMV). This is your recommended alternative to being warm at home and having stuff delivered to my door?

    Surely you wrote this on April 1st? It's got to be a joke.

    P.s. I secretly admire your want to preserve our traditional shopping model - but until the retailers can find a way of being more competitive (and I mean to be within 5% of online pricing) people will always go online to save a few £££s. If only I could buy petrol online!!

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  • gcrhodes
    Love rating 0
    gcrhodes said

    I find your reasoning for boycotting Amazon compelling and history shows that your argument that organisations grow on the back of price-cutting until they are powerful enough to establish a virtual monopoly and then charge the earth are valid. Look at Apple, Microsoft and eBay. The last is, I believe, a prime candidate for a boycott since it is now charging 10% commission up to a maximum price of £400 in addition to listing fees and commission on PayPal. Since a large proportion of items are less than £400 their percentage profit, on turnover, approaches 10%. Where else to go? Gumtree is a useful operator who charges no commission on a large number of items. Difficult to boycott Microsoft who make money out of very bad products such as Windows Vista but maybe we should all look more seriously at the alternative officeware such as LibreOffice, etc. With Apple we cannot help ourselves since the product is so attractive but there are real alternatives out there which are possibly in some ways better, for example the HTC Sensation and Samsung Nexus. Much more could be said but I hope these few words will provide some food for thought.

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  • lambstales
    Love rating 0
    lambstales said

    It is not so much Amazon that is killing bookshops but charity bookshops. Oxfam is the largest secondhand book seller in Britain.

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  • barry1936
    Love rating 4
    barry1936 said

    So you don't like Amazon because they are killing the small high street book shop but you are going to use Bookstore.co.uk instead? Hmph!

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  • Drosilla
    Love rating 1
    Drosilla said

    Which organisation would send you a replacement article for next day delivery before receiving the faulty one?

    One has hardly posted the faulty item before the replacement arrives.

    As for not paying taxes, I am sure that, as with many other Tax avoiders, it is all perfectly legal. It is the system's fault; not Amazon's.

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  • duncanw
    Love rating 1
    duncanw said

    i used to buy off the itunes store as to me it was very convienient but then noticed that they don`t include all of the songs on the albums i purchased which,to me,is very frustrating,you`re better off finding a decent record retailor

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  • missusfred
    Love rating 2
    missusfred said

    I agree with Drosilla - it must be the system that's wrong. Amazon have provided what the customer wants - clear, fair pricing, good service and a huge range of products. However, I'm glad to see other online bookstores reviewed as I automatically go to Amazon when I want books. I'm afraid online shopping is affecting the high street, but that's the way of the world. Shops have not always been there and in the future, they probably won't be again. Shops have no automatic right to existence. Yes, I use them, but I also use online shops for difficult to source products. It means I can easily get a part to fix something instead of throwing it away (without phoning round, driving all the way into the city and then finding its not the right thing), or it means being able to get hold of an old book my bookseller might not have. It means Oxfam can sell their books online for more money than they would doing the rounds of their shops and it means I save petrol and time. Welcome to the future!

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  • HariB
    Love rating 0
    HariB said

    This is without any doubt the dumbest post I have ever seen on Lovemoney.

    There is no real argument, just spite and stupidity and sowing of fear. Do you really think that Amazon will not suffer competition as it goes on? That is how a free market works, unlike the protected utopia the writer seems to long for.

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  • Aliciafox
    Love rating 2
    Aliciafox said

    I disagree here. Amazon has made my life a lot easier. I live in Cornwall and commute to work in the London area on a weekly basis so I don't get much time or opportunity for conventional shopping. And my family live all over the country. So for Christmas and birthdays, I just find out what everyone wants (they can send me a link to whatever it is), look it up on Amazon, and get it sent, already gift wrapped, to the recipient. All names, addresses and credit card details are already on the system - it's just one click ordering. Simples!

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  • SocketMan
    Love rating 0
    SocketMan said

    Amazon.co.uk does, in fact, operate illegally. Although the service they offer on products they sell directly is pretty good, they also have the appalling Amazon Marketplace operation which is integrated into their website such that it is not obvious whether you are being offered an Amazon supplied product, or some other supplier whose sales ethics leave much to be desired. The BBC revealed this problem with Amazon in 2008, things have not changed!

    Whilst their tax avoidance methods may be legal, their abuse of UK consumer protection law is not.

    There are currently many many illegal products being sold on Amazon Marketplace (and I do mean illegal with penalties including imprisonment – not just counterfeit goods). Even when the evidence is very clear that crime is being committed, Amazon have no system to block these offers, and simply ignore instructions from Trading Standards to do so! To learn more about this, with examples, go to http://tinyurl.com/IllegalAmazon

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  • Farab
    Love rating 24
    Farab said

    aahhh ... online petrol, now there's an idea. something like bulk buying. you know you're going to use, let's say, 2500 liters of petrol in the year. you buy it all (in one go) online at a reduced price from a depot which charges a nominal fee (or included in the price) for storing the petrol. you just go there, insert your 'card', fill up and off you go. when the credit runs out, you need to buy again.

    oh no ... but it won't work. not only does the government put a huge levy on the price of fuel ... it also regulates how it's bought and sold. nice little earner of a monopoly they've got there :-)

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  • AlanMoneyMan
    Love rating 3
    AlanMoneyMan said

    I kind of agree, but I think your ire is misplaced in two ways.

    1) Amazon's not exactly a bit part player in the e-commerce revolution - it is very high profile and has been for, perhaps, 10 years or so. vis-a-vis the tax thing, my displeasure is more towards the HMRC who have let this slide. After all, if it's now possible to bring Amazon to book (no pun intended), why could they not have taken the necessary steps long ago (rule changes or whatever it takes)? If I could get away without paying much tax and HMRC was "okay" with it, then I would - so would most of you.

    2) I too am royally cheesed off with Amazon but for different reasons. Examples: In their early days their site was very clearly managed by people who cared about the quality of the data on it. If something was wrong, there were viable mechanisms to get it put right, and there were far fewer mistakes in product descriptions and they genuinely did care about accurate information management. Since they got big and dominant an awful lot of Amazon's product descriptions (I'm thinking especially about CDs here, but in other departments too) are wrong in one or more regards. Worse than that, what mechanisms they do provide for flagging up product description problems are insultingly obviously designed to put you off submitting changes.

    I once complained that the displayed artwork for a CD was the wrong one (which it plainly was, it visibly had a different artist name and different title on it to the one being offered) but I got back a pro-forma response with a broken English paragraph or two on top of it saying that they "couldn't confirm the change I suggested" and they didn't action it. So, if it's about products, they hide behind badly constructed web forms, and respond with bland and mostly unhelpful pro-forma responses.

    But if it's about money, you encounter a very different Amazon! Then, you have their rapt attention and get swift and effective service.

    Another good example is "Soul Coaxin'" an old song I was looking for. I did the song search and got a list of CD albums that this song occurs on. I clicked on a likely looking CD (which I later found, from another site does actually contain the song) but on Amazon's site there was no track list for this CD, even though their systems must actually have a track list for this CD, else how could the search have matched it? I complained, I got back a bland pro-forma that said they rely on the music companies to provide them with CD track lists (appropriate response, how?). Then there's the fact that they continue to stock rip-off CDs of re-recordings of the tracks you thought you were buying - and it goes on and on. They also have not reigned in Zoverstocks (the outfall end of the Music Magpie sewer) who single handedly have ripped off everybody in sight (except Amazon, who get the seller fees) including MM sellers ("they offered you HOW MUCH? for 50 CDs") other sellers and the music industry (by making second hand CDs so cheap that nobody needs to buy new ones).

    Long story short, Amazon used to be a lot more focused on providing quality customer information as a way for Amazon to make money. Now, they very plainly only care about making money, everything they do proclaims it. All the product expertise that made them great seems to have gone and customer service has been subordinated to a library of never quite applicable pro-forma responses.

    If I were boycotting Amazon (which I'm not, because frankly, I can't imagine anything worse than going back to high street shopping, and I only ever buy 2nd hand books) for me, the only serious alternative is Play.com.

    Alan T

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  • robbie34
    Love rating 1
    robbie34 said

    I will not buy from amazon as i have first hand experience of how bad their staff are treated in their warehouses, total slavery, you even have to pay to park in the staff car park.all for minimum wage.you can get just as good a deal from the likes of tesco and i believe they are the better staff payers in the retail world.

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  • AlanMoneyMan
    Love rating 3
    AlanMoneyMan said

    >>>>>I will not buy from amazon as i have first hand experience of how bad their staff are treated in their warehouses, total slavery, you even have to pay to park in the staff car park.all for minimum wage.you can get just as good a deal from the likes of tesco and i believe they are the better staff payers in the retail world.

    Really? They have that damn great gin palace up near Bedford with that huge site, and they're charging workers for parking there? That really sucks. How on earth do they justify that? I bet they have trouble keeping staff - must all the eastern Europeans by now.

    Report on 20 April 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Mike Booth
    Love rating 1
    Mike Booth said

    I tried to sell a Sony dedicated flashgun on Amazon. I described the model fully and it was bought by a lady for her father. She subsequently asked if she could return it for a refund because it would not work with her father's camera. Amazon claimed that I had not given correct details and told me to refund the money. I did give the lady her money back but told Amazon that I had given only correct info and that I could not guarantee that the dedicated flashgun would work if I did not know the model of camera.

    I asked for an apology from Amazon but never got one so I started my boycott 16 months ago and will never knowingly buy anything else from them.Already they have got too big for their boots.

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  • Ed Bowsher
    Love rating 80
    Ed Bowsher said

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all your comments. Some interesting stuff. Especially about the staff car parking at the Amazon warehouse. Bizarre!

    I can't reply to everyone, but here are a few thoughts.

    - My one regret about this article is that I didn't emphasise enough the issue of Amazon's power vis a vis the publishing industry. I think that's very dangerous and is really the most important reason to steer clear of this company.

    - This article seems to have made some people very cross! I'd just stress that it's a personal opinion. I'm going to avoid Amazon, but others can do what they like :)

    I'll now reply to two points:

    HariB said:

    "Do you really think that Amazon will not suffer competition as it goes on? That is how a free market works, unlike the protected utopia the writer seems to long for."

    It's how the free market often works. But not always. Sometimes monopolies or oligopolies form and they're not in the best interests of consumers. Then competition regulators/governments have to break up the monopolies. Examples include Standard Oil and Bell in the US.

    And regulators certainly shouldn't allow companies with 70% market share to buy a competitor.The regulator should never have approved Amazon's purchase of The Book Depository.

    Barry 1936 said:

    "So you don't like Amazon because they are killing the small high street book shop but you are going to use Bookstore.co.uk instead? Hmph!"

    I can see why you said that. But look, I'm realistic, the internet isn't going away, and I'm happy to buy some books over the web. But I don't want to support Amazon on the web, and I also want to support some high street book shops. The experience of entering a bookshop is wonderful and I don't want to lose that. So I'll buy some books from non-Amazon websites and hopefully boost their business whilst also purchasing in offline retailers.

    It makes sense to me. :)

    Regards,

    Ed

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  • Peteralb
    Love rating 0
    Peteralb said

    I also want to avoid Amazon on the basis of their avoidance of UK tax. So I went to the suggested site BESTBOOKPRICE.CO.UK and what do we find but an big AMAZON advert. It seems they manage to get in everywhere; no doubt buying in with our non- taxed income!

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  • redechan
    Love rating 0
    redechan said

    I agree with lots of the comments above. I also love independent book shops, but don't forget that on-line book buying is an absolute God-send for people who live in remote areas. Books would be very expensive indeed if you had to travel 50 miles or more to your nearest book shop.

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  • alexms
    Love rating 8
    alexms said

    secondhand / charity shops. Help the needy, help the environment, help your own and the local / national economies, help your community / highstreet and in many cases end up with something you might not otherwise have chosen - which broadens the mind!

    Report on 21 October 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • jalopy
    Love rating 2
    jalopy said

    I've started using WH Smith again, admittedly for magazines mostly. I enjoy browsing and 9 times out of 10 make a purchase. I'd hate to see it disappear from the high street.

    For books, I use the library and charity shops.

    Report on 02 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • PixieAnnie
    Love rating 2
    PixieAnnie said

    Nothing beats the smell and feel of a book and the atmosphere within a book store. It is the very reason I will not read from a Kindle.

    Report on 16 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  2 loves
  • teafoo
    Love rating 55
    teafoo said

    But Amazon has paid in taxes with other names - they pay NI for the many people they employ - yes, don't forget that, they provide employment ...

    A one-sided article.

    If the system allows them to sidestep some taxes, then change the system and watch the company move away from this country.

    Who has an ISA? 'Shouldn't be allowed, avoiding tax ...' ...

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • jonathan.fr
    Love rating 0
    jonathan.fr said

    I recently was let down by Amazon and a supplier - only second time in a couple of years - but looked on Abe Books and found a very much cheaper alternative and will look at them in future for books before going to Amazon. Since I spend a lot of my time abroad, I can´t always pop into bookshops!! I know that apparently Amazon own Abe Books, but they are good value. Going back to the fact that Amazon pay no Corporation tax, how is this when all our pension schemes from the days of Mr Brown were made to pay this tax and thus our pension schemes lost a lot of their value? The ways of political people in the UK are very mysterious...

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • deanrobinson78
    Love rating 20
    deanrobinson78 said

    Spend more money for the same thing - with more hassle for me.

    I thought this site was about saving money...... Honestly this artcile smells badly of Ed grinding a peronal axe against Amazon.

    P.s. In a week where just a few days ago LoveMoney was raving about Black friday deals on Amazon!

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Perry525
    Love rating 26
    Perry525 said

    Like many other people I live in the country.

    Amazon provide a next day service for us, a real benefit when the nearest shops are 12/16 miles away, and shopping makes a large hole in our day.

    Our politicians made the law to suit themselves and their paymasters big business, OK it was done in the name of jobs for the people, but really for big business.

    I would like to think that public pressure backed by the press will make a change for the better - but I doubt it.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Overtone
    Love rating 38
    Overtone said

    I won't join the boycott, because I use Amazon quite a lot to buy secondhand classical CDs and also books, and they have much more of what I want than ebay or anywhere else. But I will probably buy fewer goods of other kinds from Amazon, as the article has crystallised concerns I've been developing about Amazon's effects on other retail outlets and its increasingly dominant position.

    As for the tax situation, that's a consequence of the growth of large international companies, and presumably they don't pay much tax in other nations such as Germany. It's something that requires international co-operation. Meanwhile we shouldn't forget that they provide employment and pay national insurance, as others have pointed out. In fact we should bear in mind that most things are very closely interlinked, and though we may not like one aspect, such as the minimal corporation tax some companies pay, which happens to be very much in the news at the moment, there are benefits as well, and we should try to think of all the possible consequences before we try to make changes.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • john987
    Love rating 0
    john987 said

    That's ludicrous Mr Bowsher! All you will do is drive them to another country and then more British jobs will be lost.

    The fault is not Amazon's, it is the fault of the tax laws in this and many other countries that allow it to legally happen.

    You will not change it unless the whole world changes their tax laws. No chance of that of course, so wise up and stop bashing successful companies that create employment and fulfill a very definite need.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • r
    Love rating 98
    r said

    There are several comments on here about Amazon's tax situation that cannot be changed by the UK government.

    @teafoo says: "If the system allows them to sidestep some taxes, then change the system and watch the company move away from this country."

    The EU (which none of us voted to join) permits any company that is trading across Europe to pay its corporation taxes to the country of its choice. As Ireland and Luxembourg are the cheapest, they have become the most attractive places for international companies to base themselves.

    @jonathon.fr says: "Amazon pay no Corporation tax."

    Not to this country but that is quite legal. Corporation tax cannot be effectively collected from international companies so it has become a burden on UK based companies which cannot avoid it and that helps to make them less competitive. It is an uncollectible tax and, therefore, is now a bad tax.

    One should remember that these massive companies still pay a fortune in Income tax (on behalf of their employees), NI, fuel duty, vehicle duty if they have their own vehicles in the UK, rates and they also provide a lot of indirect employment, particularly for our Post Office, delivery and courier firms, who also pay income tax, NI . . . . etc etc.

    @perry525 said: "Our politicians made the law to suit themselves and their paymasters big business, OK it was done in the name of jobs for the people, but really for big business."

    This is true; we have been forced into the EU from the EEC by our politicians of all persuasions, politicians which are too scared to ask for our opinion. When we eventually get out of the EU and return to a free trade area, our government will be able to make/restore tax rules that benefit the country. When!

    r.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • nosbort
    Love rating 160
    nosbort said

    It's sad to see so many people (including Ed) missing the point here, the tax treaties that the UK and most countries are subscribed to allow the transfer of profits to a chosen jurisdiction, in any case a company is at liberty to buy things from anywhere in the world which can reduce the profit (Franchising the name etc). This means that they will make their profits where the tax rate is the lowest. The UK taxes companies so heavily that it would be stupid of a multinational to make its profits here. All that is necessary is for HMG to reduce the CT RATE to one low enough for it to be unnecessary to move the profits away and the tax TAKE would be higher.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • PoohBah
    Love rating 23
    PoohBah said

    I apologise if this has been mentioned previously, but I had no inclination to read through more than 80 posts...

    A useful alternative to paying Amazon for Kindle books is to go to Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org), where the e-books are free. For example, War and Peace (mentioned in the article) is available there. Other books may be in a better format: Three Men in a Boat is available with the illustrations (rather than just the captions, as on Amazon). Downloading takes a little more effort, but is easy enough if you know how to copy and rename files. The site only has books which are out of copyright, so forget the latest Booker Prize nominations.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • vl4781
    Love rating 1
    vl4781 said

    I am all for competition and Ed feels Amazon has become a overwhelming force changing the way we shop. I remember the days when I first shopped on Amazon when it only sold books and now it is a department store of all goods. It was not long ago when people said Tesco is too powerful. But what Ed fails to point out is why has Amazon become so powerful and not just because of the tax they may or may not be paying it is their business model and they way they attract their customers. I apologise for pointing out the obvious but WE the customers have voted with our wallet in making it so powerful. I buy from Amazon because it offers what I want in a good price and deliver the product in a reasonable speed. It goes to show someone can start a business selling initially one type of product and grown to this size. We the customers are much much more powerful than Amazon we can take our money to spend where we want. As illustrated from the examples in the article about books, why are Waterstone's selling books more expensive than Amazon? Remember Waterstone's has been around much longer than Amazon and also has an online presence. I am more than happy to spend by money with Waterstone's but like most consumers why should I pay more for the same product elsewhere?

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • nickpike
    Love rating 309
    nickpike said

    What are you trying to do, kill competition? It's competition that is healthy in a capitalist society and keeps prices down. Amazon deserve the success they have. They have a first class modern business model and customer service, with very competitive prices. If others fall by the way side, then that is their fault, and if shops are empty, then maybe the high street shop is an outmoded type of retailing system.

    I will continue to use Amazon, thank you.

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • MK22
    Love rating 169
    MK22 said

    If ordering online for a specific date and finding out days later that the delivery date promised can't be met is a first class business model; if having to spend all day in the house waiting for a delivery that arrives at 5pm is a first class business model; then go ahead use Amazon. But if, when you discover that the wanted wedding anniversary present will arrive 3 days late or not at all, there are no high street shops to buy a replacement in, don't blame me! You pay for what you get. Pay peanuts, get monkeys!

    Report on 21 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • luvdo
    Love rating 1
    luvdo said

    Yes, I've dumped them too, but mainly because they ripped me off. Paid the money but no goods. luvdo

    Report on 23 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Birdboxview
    Love rating 0
    Birdboxview said

    Birdboxview are UK Amazon traders. You won't find us on the high street because our webcamera birdboxes would cost too much with retail mark-up added.

    You won't find us at Waterstones because we don't sell books or CDs.

    We do pay our income tax etc and, of course, we pay Amazon for the privilege of listing our goods with them.

    We started our lovely nestbox webcamera business a year ago and without Amazon we would not have made a go of it. The experience up to now has been wonderful for us as we got by without working tax credits for the first time since I was forced to leave my office job in 2005!

    Now, with the effects of the recession and a lot of our potential customers being "squeezed" we are fast going into debt and will be unlikely to manage without benefits in the new year.

    A boycott of Amazon will definitely finish us off. Any ideas how to be politically correct without hurting the poorest sections of UK society guys?

    By the way, we always deliver on time, we replace faulty goods immediately and we chat to our customers about any and all their problems and about birdwatching too!

    Thanks for reading my diatribe - and a very Merry Xmas for everyone in the UK whether they can afford the trimmings or not....

    .... should you care to come looking for us we have made a non-Amazon website at birdboxview com

    Rachel

    Report on 24 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • elliebroughton
    Love rating 0
    elliebroughton said

    Ed - I thought this post was great but it's worth mentioning that HMV's been called out on tax too: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/tax/hmv

    Report on 28 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    i have learned my lesson when buying expensive brand new text books for study on amazon or e-bay. i could have saved a lot if i discovered second-hand online book shop, such as abe books, earlier. now they are my first point of try when i need to get some text book for my study. i do not mind that they were used before as far as they cover the material i need and they are the issue that is sufficient for my purposes. i tend to buy some things on amazon, but books - i rather search elsewhere.

    Report on 02 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Meduza78
    Love rating 18
    Meduza78 said

    ah, i see, i have contributed to this discussion some time ago. sorry :) it just came into my mailbox so i checked through...

    meanwhile - i think that amazon is already too powerful and too well established, that few activist against amazon will not make a big impact... the economy situation here is getting worse and people will depend more and more on cheaper online shops - not being able to afford new books at all... and what once was maybe a mainly book shop online, is today a completely different thing - it covers almost everything. it even allows to sell knifes online, what e-bay does not.

    Report on 02 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • frodo777
    Love rating 0
    frodo777 said

    Boycotting isn't enough and there won't be enough people doing it. I think this would work much better. Whenever you have a few minutes to spare, place a bunch of orders on Amazon (from Amazon, not marketplace sellers). Then immediately cancel the orders using the text, "Sorry, I have to cancel this order because I just remembered that Amazon avoids paying tax in the UK by artificially exporting its UK profits to Luxembourg, meaning that I (and every other tax payer) has to pay more tax than is really needed to make up for the shortfall caused by your (and other multinationals) tax avoidance. I know your tax avoidance is legal, but its also blatantly dishonest and I don't like buying things from dishonest businesses."

    Report on 18 July 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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