Financial Protection

FTC escalates inquiry of Amazon Prime cancellation process

Consumer alerts

In January 2021, we joined leading groups in a complaint to FTC that stated: ““Amazon Prime’s subscription model is a ‘roach motel,’ where getting in is almost effortless, but escape is an ordeal. As a general rule, it should not be more difficult to unsubscribe than to subscribe from a digital service.”

In March 2021, the FTC opened an investigation into Amazon’s cancellation policies. The FTC has issued “civil investigative demands” (subpoenas) asking for more information. Last week, on a bipartisan vote, the FTC rejected Amazon’s tedious demands that top officials, including CEO Jeff Bezos, not be called to testify in its inquiry (CNN story) into cancellation policies.  Prime, Music and other Amazon cancellation policies are now all under FTC review.

The FTC is also looking into whether Amazon and other BigTech firms and apps use unfair or deceptive practices, including so-called dark patterns, to keep consumers paying for subscription services they may no longer want. One-click to buy and one-click to join; but many clicks to stop paying for expensive subscriptions, doesn’t work for consumers.


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