Amazon tricks customers into signing up for $79 annual membership

Last month my wife made a $12.04 purchase on Amazon.com.
Today she was surprised to see on her credit card statement a $79 charge on something called “Amazon prime”.

At first we thought her credit card number had been stolen.

I googled a little bit and found out that Amazon has a membership program called Amazon Prime that offers shipping benefits for an annual fee.

Problem is: she doesn’t remember signing up for it. She didn’t even know what it is.
She has an online shop herself, so she is constantly buying stuff on the internet – she’s not an inexperienced first time internet buyer.

Amazon tricked her to into signing up for Amazon Prime during the checkout process.

Hey Amazon:
Not cool.
This is not the kind of thing you throw in-fine-print-accepted-by-default.
This is the kind of thing you really want to make sure that your client KNOWINGLY opted in for.
And after she opted in for, please also send an email explaining what Amazon Prime is, and how much it costs.
You did none of that, and it pisses me off.
In my opinion this is very close to stealing.

Obviously, my wife is not the only one that fell for it.

My wife already cancelled her Amazon Prime membership, and she got an email from Amazon that the $79 will be refunded – in her *next* credit card statement.
I wonder how much money Amazon is making from people who have no idea what Amazon Prime is. I’m sure it’s a lot.

Please help Amazon get the reputation it deserves for this. Share this post.

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UPDATE

The article at [1] explains well what happenned:

(…) Amazon has been aggressively pushing the Amazon Prime program lately with a brightly colored banner at the top of the checkout page and the following text: “You qualify for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime.” The free trial lasts a month, but the fine print reads:

By clicking the button below, you are purchasing the item noted above (at its regular price) as well as signing up for a Free one month trial of Amazon Prime. As the trial ends, if you want to join Amazon Prime, do nothing. At that point we will enroll you in an auto-renewing, annual membership and charge a $79 annual fee. If you prefer not to upgrade to full membership, you can easily let us know at any time before your introductory membership ends, by changing your preferences in Your Account.

Beautiful. So by making a purchase, Amazon automatically changed her preferences, and she must go and change it back to not be charged $79 a year. Seriously, this should be worth jailtime.