According to the latest reports, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit Amazon claiming that it tricked millions of users into signing up for its Prime subscription service. FTC says Amazon used deceptive user interface designs to trick users into signing up for Prime. In addition, a complaint was also filed with the US District Court for the Western District of Washington a few days ago. It aimed Amazon Prime for alleged attempts to keep users subscribed who wanted to cancel their membership.
A deceptive user interface was used to trick users into signing up for Amazon Prime
FTC complaint read:
“In particular, Amazon used manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into signing up for auto-renewing Prime subscriptions.”
The point worth noting is that Amazon surpassed 200 million paid Prime subscribers in 2021. With Prime, Amazon was able to generate billions in subscription revenue and incentivize customers. Reports claim that the company has deliberately made it much more difficult to cancel subscriptions compared to signing up for Prime. The company allegedly set up a “labyrinthine” cancellation process to distract consumers or prevent them from fulfilling their intentions.
Amazon called the FTC’s claims false about the facts and the law. In fact, the company stated that it had not received any notice before filing the complaint. The company said:
“We are also concerned that the FTC announced this lawsuit to us without any notice during our conversations with FTC employees to confirm their understanding of the facts, context and legal issues, and before we could have a dialogue with the commissioners themselves . before they filed a lawsuit. While the absence of that normal course involvement is extremely disappointing, we look forward to proving our case in court.”
Following the complaint, Amazon took some action in response to pressure from the FTC. It simplified the ability for users to cancel their Prime subscriptions. Before that, however, the company refused to allow customers to cancel their Prime subscriptions online. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Wednesday’s complaint against Amazon is the first major lawsuit brought against the company by the FTC. What will be the company’s new strategy for dealing with these allegations? Let’s see what comes next. Stay tuned for more updates.
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