Amazon UK ends free delivery on all orders
Online retailer Amazon has introduced a minimum spend of £10 if shoppers wish to use its free "Super Saver" delivery service. It means consumers will no longer be automatically entitled to free delivery on any item they choose.
However, the minimum spend does not apply to all categories. Customers will still be able to choose free delivery on books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, video games and software products.
But the £10 minimum, introduced on 23 July 2013, applies to all other orders.
In a statement, Amazon said: "Whilst the change will affect only a very small proportion of orders, it will allow us to offer you a significantly expanded selection of lower-priced products.
"We continue to work hard every day to improve the delivery services that we offer. For example, Amazon Prime allows you to benefit from unlimited, One Day delivery on all orders with no minimum threshold for an annual fee of £49.
"Prime members continue to enjoy discounted rates on a number of our delivery services including Evening Delivery which has recently been extended to a total of 19 towns and cities across the UK."
Online deal-hunting community HotUKDeals said that its members have spotted a number of loopholes allowing them to continue receiving free delivery on all orders at virtually no additional cost.
By including cheap books, DVDs or CDs, shoppers can still obtain free postage. One HotUKDeals member spotted that a World Cup Fever album was selling for 37p - by including it in an order, there was no delivery charge for any other items. Similarly, a CD single by obscure artist DeckWrecka was selling for just 87p - although the CD went up in price to £6.99 shortly after the bargain was spotted.
Amazon UK, which began trading in October 1998, has also recently introduced Amazon Lockers and collection points. These are self-service delivery locations that allow you to pick up Amazon deliveries at a time and location that is more convenient.
Instead of delivering a parcel to your home or business, you can choose to have your order delivered to an Amazon Locker or Collect+ store – which can be found in large shopping centres, convenience stores, newsagents and train stations.
The wider Amazon group has recently been criticised for using tax structures to route £4.2 billion worth of sales to British customers through Luxembourg, allowing it to pay less UK tax. The government has said it is to clamp down on these international tax loopholes.