Ben Laurie blathering

Amazon and Trade Descriptions, Round 2

Well, Consumer Direct (case reference LR121106) spoke to my local trading standards officers, who apparently take the view that “audio CD” means “will play on your stereo” and doesn’t mean “will play on a CD player in your computer”, and so there’s nothing wrong with Amazon’s description.

This is, of course, utterly wrong, so I asked how I could speak to them to persuade them otherwise. I was told that I should do this through Consumer Direct. So I asked how to do that. I was told that he had already given me their response and “err, actually, write them an email, you can find their address on their website”. Sad.

Anyway, I took his advice, almost, and rang Ealing Trading Standards (for that is my local branch) (their number, incidentally is 020 8825 6086) and spoke to a much more reasonable chap called Anthony Wrightson. I explained why audio CDs should work in PCs and that it was a well-known fact that EMI made disks that don’t conform with the standards. He said he would put my case into the system, noted that I wanted to hear the outcome, and said they resolve cases within 4 working days.

I await the resolution with interest.


  1. What are the possible outcomes?

    Comment by Yoav Shapira — 14 Mar 2006 @ 18:33

  2. Ben, I’m watching this story with interest.

    One recommendation would be to say that the CD didnt work in your car stereo, not a PC. Its a lot harder to weasel out of that one.

    Comment by Steve Loughran — 14 Mar 2006 @ 22:23

  3. It’s only because of people who have principles that this stuff ever sees the light of day.

    If you ask your average person in the street, shown a DVD they’d say it was a CD as well.

    I’m watching too … :O)

    BTW, Yoav Shapira asked what the possible outcomes are …

    1. Amazon offers a refund and a goodwill gift, not conceding that their description is wrong. Hopes it will go away.
    2. UK Trading Standards decide to ignore the case on the basis that Ben is splitting (as they see it) hairs.
    3. EMI abandon their non-standard cd production and make a donation to a charity of Ben’s choice*

    (* well, you did ask for possible outcomes!)

    Comment by robin — 15 Mar 2006 @ 1:42

  4. Possible outcomes:

    1.) Amazon could give him a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which isn’t very likely and they don’t expect it,
    2.) Amazon could bawl them out and tell them never to be seen buying audio CDs in the vicinity again, which is what they expect.

    Comment by Andrew A. Gill — 16 Mar 2006 @ 19:47

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