Amazon Hit with Lawsuit by FTC for Allegedly Misleading Tactics to Enroll Customers in Prime Membership

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Amazon, alleging that the company used deceptive tactics to enroll consumers into its Prime service without their consent and made it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions. The complaint, filed in federal court in Seattle, accuses Amazon of using manipulative user-interface designs to deceive consumers into signing up for automatically-renewing Prime subscriptions.

FTC Chair Lina M. Khan stated that Amazon’s actions cost consumers money and violated their trust. The FTC aims to protect consumers and businesses from unfair practices in digital markets.

Amazon Prime, priced at $139 per year, offers free two-day shipping and other benefits like Prime Video and music streaming.

The FTC claims that Amazon intentionally complicated the cancellation process for Prime subscribers, with the goal of preventing them from cancelling their memberships. The complaint also alleges that Amazon’s leadership hindered changes that would have made it easier for users to cancel their subscriptions due to financial considerations.

The FTC further reveals that during the checkout process, Amazon presented consumers with multiple opportunities to subscribe to Prime, while making it harder for them to make a purchase without subscribing. Additionally, some buttons did not clearly inform users that choosing that option meant agreeing to a recurring Prime subscription.

The complaint mentions that Amazon internally referred to the cancellation process as “Iliad,” a reference to Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan war.

Amazon has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

This story is developing…

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