FTC alleges Amazon enrolled people in Prime without consent and thwarted members’ attempts to cancel

In many instances, consumers were not agreeing to join Prime for a recurring fee, but they were also not only choosing the option to buy that item. The FTC says that in many cases, consumers found it more difficult to find the option to buy items without subscribing to Prime. The FTC alleges that Amazon used dark patterns to enroll consumers in their Prime subscription without their consent, resulting in consumers facing numerous opportunities to subscribe to Prime for $14.99 a month during the online checkout process on Amazon. However, the complaint remains redacted at this early stage of the litigation.

According to the FTC, consumers were provided with the chance to cancel the service and decline the auto-renew feature, while being redirected to multiple pages offering discounted subscription prices. The media reports that Amazon used the term “Iliad” to describe its own cancellation process. This term likely refers to the lengthy epic poem by Homer, similar to the Trojan War. The complaint states that people were presented with multiple pages of offers and had to persistently navigate through them to cancel or turn off auto-renewal, in order to continue the subscription at a discounted price.

Did Amazon executives respond to the complaint alleging that Amazon was enrolling consumers in Prime without their consent and that they failed to take any meaningful steps to address the issues until they learned about the investigation by the FTC? Furthermore, the complaint alleges that it was difficult for people to navigate the perplexing cancellation process and that they were finding it difficult to enroll consumers in Prime without their consent.

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The company violated the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) by not clearly and prominently disclosing all important terms of the transaction prior to obtaining consumers’ billing information. According to the complaint, Amazon unfairly charged consumers without their consent, thereby violating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act. The company is alleged to have failed to offer a straightforward cancellation method and neglected to obtain consumers’ explicit informed consent prior to charging them.

You have put transparency to the test when it comes to the processes of cancellation and enrollment. Many companies, including some of those in your path, have thrown obstacles in your way. Many matters have been challenged regarding the conduct of companies that have enrolled consumers in subscriptions or plans without their consent, accompanied by recurring charges. The FTC has brought numerous enforcement actions, challenging unfair or deceptive practices by online sellers and brick-and-mortar retailers that serve to subvert consumer choice. Even at this early stage of filing, this action demonstrates the FTC’s commitment to shedding light on alleged dark patterns. The case is currently pending in a federal court in the State of Washington.

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