Consumer groups across many countries are challenging Amazon on their cancellation procedures for Prime membership, saying they are purposefully difficult and off-putting.
Cancelling Prime membership involves scrolling through many pages of text with multiple prompts to retain membership, often described as a ‘dark pattern’. These are techniques of features in a system designed to manipulate the user. In a study of 1000 Norwegian consumers, a quarter of them reported difficulties in cancelling their membership of digital content services, indicating that this issue is far wider than Amazon alone.
The online retail giant has refuted these claims, saying that the process is straightforward and that all information being cited is simple giving “a full view of the benefits and services that members are cancelling”.
Here in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that one of Amazon’s page layouts was misleading and meant that many people could have easily signed up for Prime membership without meaning to.
The Norwegian Consumer Council are one of the loudest voices on this issue and have filed a complaint with Norway’s consumer protection authority, claiming that it violates EU consumer law. They claim that it should be just as simple to end a subscription as it is to start one and that Amazon should stop “hindering customers and tricking them into continuing a paid service”.
Consumer rights are becoming more of a hot topic, especially as our purchasing habits and shopping processes adapt to new technologies and markets. If you have any questions about your right as a consumer or customer, our experienced team of solicitors are here to answer any questions you may have about your situation.