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Commentary: If It Looks and Sounds Like Consumer Fraud …

You get what you pay for, right?

Although that's a comforting adage in those instances when an individual forks over extra dollars to ensure a higher quality product or enhanced level of service, we all know that the promised bottom line doesn't always materialize.

If any of our readers were able to personally ring up Forbes consumer-fraud writer Laurence Kotlikoff right now for a chat on the subject, he or she might find that his blood is still boiling (his words) from a recent experience he had with Amazon.

Kotlikoff in no uncertain terms charges that the mega online retailer is systematically engaging in a fraud upon the public and should be targeted by proven lawyers in a class action lawsuit.

Here's what happened with Kotlikoff.

Quite simply, he sought to send a package with some dispatch, paying Amazon extra for the privilege of a guaranteed next-day arrival.

Drum roll -- the package did not arrive on time. When the writer queried the company, he was told that the ultimate shipper -- UPS -- would have to pay for the glitch, notwithstanding that Amazon took Kotlikoff's money, guaranteed timely delivery and insisted that UPS had timely received the merchandise, when it fact there was no such record confirming that.

That led to the aforementioned boiling blood.

What especially piques Kotlikoff is that Amazon sells expedited shipping, yet does not automatically refund consumers in instances of tardiness. Instead, they have to follow through and make a personal pitch for their money back.

He also excoriates the company for its failure to promptly refund every consumer who paid for a phantom service that Amazon can easily see did not materialize from its electronic tracking system.

In short, he says that legions of people are being defrauded by the retail giant and that class-action litigation might reasonably an appropriate legal response to right the wrong.

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