Amazon tricks customers into signing up for $79 annual membership

Last month my wife made a $12.04 purchase on
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.



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.


11 comentários em “Amazon tricks customers into signing up for $79 annual membership

  1. Your wife is clearly not as savvy as you believe her to be. Auto-enrollment in trial memberships is pretty standard across most services and has been for quite some time. This is a complete over reaction. I think by now people need to realize that nothing is free. Read the fine print. When I sign up for trials like this, I create a calendar notification of when the last day is to cancel.

    1. The problem here is the way Amazon pushes this deal to their clients during checkout.
      The process is _designed_ to:
      a) Make the buyer enroll without noticing; or
      b) Make the buyer forget she enrolled.

      During the purchase, details about Amazon prime show on a popup, in fine print, _if_ the buyer clicks to see more details about it.

      The honest thing to do would be:

      1) Display in an evident, clear way, how much more you’ll paying and when.
      2) Send a “Welcome to Amazon Prime, this will cost you $79” email
      3) Send another “Your Amazon Prime 1 month free trial is about to expire” email.

      Amazon does none of that.

      My wife bought something in a hurry and fell for it.

      I’m sure this happens to a lot of people who are paying without wanting or even knowing.
      Amazon knows this, and I’m sure they love it.

      Do you really not think this to be unethical?

  2. I agree with Garry. Amazon is one of the best retailers out there and their customer service is amazing. I’ve never seen them auto opt me in to anything and I’ve been a customer for years and have spent thousands of dollars on their site. IF they suddenly changed to an auto opt in type retailer I would be shocked. Their brand reputation is too good for that. It’s more likely she checked the box and then forgot about it. It happens to the best of us.

    1. Funny story, I signed up for a Lovefilm free trial, 9 months later I have the same 3 discs and I’ve been paying the subscription for the past 6 months because I’m too lazy/keep forgetting to cancel! Which reminds me!

  3. This happened to someone I know. ironically he was already covered under my Prieme account.

    it is obvious this is tricker and is happening to a lot of people deposits “johnnys” rolling over for Amazon…

  4. I’ve observed that in the world the present moment, video games will be the latest phenomenon with children of all ages. Often times it may be not possible to drag the kids away from the video games. If you want the very best of both worlds, there are various educational gaming activities for kids. Great post.

  5. Thanks for expressing your ideas. I’d also like to convey that video games have been at any time evolving. Modern technology and inventions have aided create sensible and interactive games. These types of entertainment video games were not that sensible when the concept was being tried. Just like other designs of technological innovation, video games also have had to evolve through many years. This itself is testimony towards fast progression of video games.

  6. I was auto enrolled with no notification what so ever. I am angry. I will now gladly pay more elsewhere and will never buy from Amazon Crime again. They are filthy criminal scammers. Pass it on boycott Amazon because after they put all others out of business then they will hike their prices greatly. Dirty conniving criminal scum.

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