A US SENATOR has chided bookseller Amazon over a price comparison promotion that she warned could hurt high street retailers.
Senator Olympia Snowe said "Main Street", of course, since this is a US price promotion, and one that asks shoppers to gather up pricing information from brick and mortar stores and compare them against the online offerings.
Anyone that tries out the app, which is called Price Check, can get a five per cent discount on their purchase, and this has led Snowe to release her flurry of criticism.
"Amazon's promotion - paying consumers to visit small businesses and leave empty-handed - is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities," said Snowe in a statement seen by Business Week.
"Small businesses are fighting everyday to compete with giant retailers, such as Amazon, and incentivising consumers to spy on local shops is a bridge too far."
Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, expressed his frustration at the promotion late last week when he suggested that it might be called a "cheesy marketing move", but added that it could be something far worse.
"We could call your $5 bounty to app-users a cheesy marketing move and leave it at that. In fact, it is the latest in a series of steps to expand your market at the expense of cities and towns nationwide, stripping them of their unique character and the financial wherewithal to pay for essential needs like schools, fire and police departments, and libraries," he said.
"But maybe we've misunderstood. Even though you've spent millions on lobbyists, fired affiliates in seven states, and threatened to shut warehouses to avoid collecting sales tax, maybe you really mean it now when you say you support a level playing field. It's up to you to show us."
We have asked Amazon to respond. µ