Financial Protection

Amazon Prime subscribers allegedly tricked into enrollment

According to the FTC, Amazon Prime customers were deceived, manipulated, and coerced into membership.

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against Amazon for deceiving and manipulating Amazon Prime customers. 

The Commission claims that Amazon used “dark patterns” to trick consumers into enrolling in Amazon Prime subscriptions. While signing up for the service happens with a few simple clicks, canceling means navigating deep into the website, scrolling past a list of all the great purchases you made on your “journey with Prime”, and clicking through three pages filled with deals you’ll miss out on with bright yellow caution signs. Internally, Amazon reportedly refers to this confusing cancellation webflow as the “Iliad Flow” – a reference to Homer’s epic about the Trojan War. 

According to the FTC, the online giant’s alleged coercive tactics violate the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) and the FTC Act. 

Amazon allegedly resisted the FTC’s attempts to investigate the matter. The FTC launched an investigation in March 2021, but by April 2022, Amazon had responded with minimal material. The online commercial giant ultimately did not comply with the investigation, attempting to delay the Commission’s inquiries and failing to produce requested documents.

Today’s confrontation with the FTC is not a first for the powerful online retailer – U.S. PIRG is among groups that have expressed concerns around Amazon Prime’s practices since January 2021

Amazon has also reportedly violated consumer privacy and put children’s data at risk. Amazon’s continued deception and resistance to investigation is indicative of a greater problem – companies using high-tech tactics to keep you locked into their services.

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