Press Release

 
Contact:            Charles Schmidt
                        National Assn. of College Stores
                        (800) 622-7498 ext. 2351
                        (216) 255-0744 (cell)
                        cschmidt@nacs.org
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 
 
National Association of College Stores Statement
Regarding Amazon.com’s Lawsuit
 
 
May 4, 2011 (OBERLIN, OH) – Yesterday Amazon.com Inc. filed a complaint for declaratory relief against the National Association of College Stores (NACS), Oberlin, OH, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Its sole aim is to halt a proceeding filed by NACS with the New York-based National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau in which the trade association seeks a review of Amazon’s college textbook pricing and advertising policies.
 
By filing this lawsuit, Amazon has chosen to make public a proceeding that NACS filed on a confidential basis, as required by the NAD. NACS was not trying to achieve any type of public "win" with its filing, but to promote a level playing field by eliminating unsubstantiated advertising claims. NACS has not yet been served with the complaint, but will respond to it in due course.
 
NACS takes its obligation to represent college stores and the students they serve seriously, and that includes the obligation of honesty. Many college stores discount prices and sell used books. NACS filed the NAD action because it is concerned about students receiving accurate information. NACS believes that the allegations in its letter to the NAD are accurate, and based on previous decisions by the NAD and the Federal Trade Commission. These allegations are:
 
  • The pricing claims made on Amazon’s site are misleading and deceptive because their sales platform makes it virtually impossible to substantiate the advertised discounts, and those discounts have in fact not been substantiated;
 
  • Amazon’s claim “Get up to 60% back when you sell textbooks back at Amazon” is deceptive because it is literally false.
 
NACS filed a complaint with the NAD in an effort to ensure that Amazon has complied with NAD precedent, which is based on the guidelines and regulations that are routinely enforced by both the NAD and Federal Trade Commission. By filing an action relying on legal grounds in the State of Washington not relied upon in the NAD complaint, Amazon is merely trying to shift the attention away from the arguments that NACS made at the NAD. This strategy only highlights to NACS that Amazon could not successfully defend itself at the NAD. This heightens our concern over the truthfulness of the retailer’s advertising. 
 
To access a copy of NACS’ NAD complaint letter, click here.
For a copy of Amazon’s lawsuit, click here.
 
About NACS
Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing college stores. NACS represents more than 3,100 collegiate retailers that serve America’s college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions. Go to www.nacs.org.
 
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