Amazon customers feel cheated by £79 charges

By Chris Dawson February 16, 2015 - 6:40 am

The Sunday Times article has highlighted a number of Amazon customers who “Feel cheated after discovering they have been signed up to a service that charges £79 a year”.

That’s Amazon Prime, which Amazon push at users every single time that they make a purchase until they give in and sign up for it.


Prime T's & C'sAmazon are offering 30 day free trials of Prime starting with the tempting free delivery on the order you’re about to place. There’s a warning popup when you sign up, but users are missing the small print which states “Your Amazon Prime membership will automatically continue at a cost of £79 per year and you authorise us to charge your card or another available card on file with us”.

The small print also states “If you do not want to continue receiving the benefits of Amazon Prime, you can select “do not upgrade” in the Manage Your Prime Account section on Your Account during your 30-day Free Trial”, but the big problem is that Amazon already have your payment details so if you don’t read the small print (or forget to ‘do not upgrade’) then the payment is going to be taken.

Ross McEwan, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland has called on regulators to act over free trial scams. He was referring to recent incidences of ‘free trial scams’ in the run up to Christmas for product trails (often beauty products). However in these cases consumers were entering their card details in exchange for the product trial only to find out they were signed up for a monthly subscription.

With the Amazon Prime trial you don’t even have to enter your card details as Amazon already have them, so it’s understandable consumers forget to cancel.

If you’re scammed with a free trial, act as soon as you spot the payments coming out of your bank account. If it’s a direct debit you can easily cancel the payments by contacting your bank. Sadly if it’s a continuous authority on your debit or credit card you’ll find it much harder to cancel and at the very least you’ll have to find the contact details for the company you signed up with. That’s not hard if you’ve signed up for Amazon Prime, it’s very much harder with the free trial scamming companies who do not publish telephone numbers or anything more than a web contact form and may not even have a UK presence.

  • Andy
    3 years ago

    It would be a start if they actually delivered everything they ‘guarantee’ to the next day.

    The whole scheme is a scam designed to create false high subscriber numbers to their Instant Video service so they can kid themselves they’re competing with Netflix.

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    We received negative feedback from a customer about this very same thing, Amazon did remove it but it seems a big problem for them, two of my friends were caught out with this over Christmas.

  • Zina
    3 years ago

    To be fair to Amazon……I signed up to the prime membership this year and I got regular emails from them with all the details and how to cancel. I then got reminder emails from them when the trial was about to expire. If people choose to ignore this then they are at fault.

    • Neil
      3 years ago

      I had a similar experience. Some people need to take more responsibility for their own actions.

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      I got numerous Amazon end of trial reminder emails advising how to cancel or alter membership which can all be done online.

      It is the companies who don’t offer online cancelation or who don’t send out reminder emails who cheat customers. Amazon absolutely are not guilty here, The Sunday Times is wasting newsprint, and Tamebay are wasting server space!

  • 3 years ago

    And to be fair if you forget to cancel and you have not used the Prime delivery service you can write to them and they always refund you – just did this for my friend on and they got a full refund just by asking. And they said they got loads of emails they just ignored them…

  • Dom
    3 years ago

    Just complain every time the Amazon Logistics muppets fail to deliver next day as ‘guaranteed’ and you get a free month added. With their current less than 50% delivery success rate I don’t think I will ever have to pay for Prime again.

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    I think this is a prime (pardon the pun) example of people not taking responsibility for their own actions. The small print isn’t small print at all, its very clear what will happen but people can’t be bothered reading it, and then become the victim when Amazon do what they said they would do.

    • Rai
      3 years ago

      While it’s not a huge deal to people who shop with care – The entire direction of ecommerce has been making it convenient, easy, and hassle free to shop online. Amazon’s spam for prime membership goes counter to that in multiple ways, and the only logical reason I can think of why the system works the way it does is hoping people notice/don’t care to complain for a refund.

      There is no requirement for Prime to be auto-activated at end of trial. The moment the customer tries to do something using prime after the trial has expired they can be prompted and confirm their subscription there. As mentioned Amazon already has payment details so it’s not like it’s a faff of getting the card out etc.

      I repeat I don’t feel it’s a scam – just a little dishonest, or bad design. Pick one.

  • Tony C
    3 years ago

    I too don’t think it’s a scam per se, just a dodgy trading practice.

    I would like to point out, though, that you can indeed cancel recurring credit card payments, and you have been able to do so since 2009 and the FCA ruled in June 2013 that banks *must* cancel CPAs when asked by the customer.

  • Steve
    3 years ago

    I don’t think it is fair to blame buyers for not reading small print and getting signed up inadvertantly during the order process. If using a mobile to purchase then reading fine print (and indeed the actual listing) is near impossible.

    Having to “opt out” by unsellecting a tick box is a sharp practice and one which has been critised by regulators and authority’s.

    Obviously buyers can cancel once they see the payment but that is not the point. The ethical way is to offer an option to join and I am somewhat suprised that a company like Amazon would knowningly dupe people in this manner. Clearly Amazon put profits before ethics or responsibility!

    The fact is that Amazon are usually pretty quick to deliver anyway and I expect they know that few would choose to join the service so they force it on buyers by being devious, knowing that many will not cancel and from those that do its still money in the bank.

    Long live The Revolution!! 🙂

  • Gary
    3 years ago

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