May 27, 2024

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Amazon, alleging that the tech giant has been using so-called “deception” tactics to trick millions of consumers into signing up for its Amazon Prime service without their knowledge. The FTC alleges that Amazon illegally signed up customers for Amazon Prime accounts without their consent and made it difficult for them to unsubscribe after signing up. The lawsuit comes ahead of Prime Day, one of Amazon’s biggest sales days of the year, scheduled for July 11-12.

What to know. Is Amazon Using ‘Dark Patterns’ to Defraud Customers?

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit on June 21, saying they believe Amazon has been deliberately using so-called “dark patterns” to trick millions of customers into subscribing to Amazon Prime accounts.

Dark patterns are a design choice of what customers see on the screen, intentionally created to mislead or trick them into taking actions they may not be willing to take or understanding the full consequences of their actions.

Examples of dark patterns include hidden costs, misleading information, forced consent, confusing interfaces, and other tactics that exploit user vulnerabilities. In this case, the FTC alleges that Amazon’s dark mode was designed to trick customers into signing up for a Prime account. The FTC accused Amazon of violating the FTC Act and the Restoring Online Shopper Confidence Act.

(Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Amazon’s allegedly difficult cancellation process

To add insult to injury, the company allegedly made the cancellation process very difficult once people realized they had signed up for an account they didn’t want. According to the FTC, Amazon did this by slowing down or outright rejecting changes that would have made the cancellation process easier for people.

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FTC files lawsuit against Amazon

FTC sues Amazon (

Amazon Prime Membership Difficulty Withdrawing

According to the FTC complaint, there are numerous allegations that the company refuses to change its policies to make it easier for people to opt out of Prime membership.

The complaint also states that many customers are often prompted to subscribe to Prime for $14.99 per month when trying to purchase products on Amazon, making it more difficult to simply purchase products without signing up for a membership. Amazon Prime costs $139 a year, and consumers get free two-day shipping, as well as Prime video and music streaming.

Unclear subscription button and difficult cancellation process

In some cases, the buttons for people to click and buy their products were not clear enough because many people didn’t know that clicking the button also meant subscribing to a membership, the FTC said.

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FTC files lawsuit against Amazon

FTC sues Amazon (

When it came to canceling memberships, the FTC said people were being redirected to many different pages where they were repeatedly asked to either continue using Amazon at a discounted price, turn off auto-renewal, or cancel entirely.

How did Amazon respond to this complaint?

Amazon was aware of its actions but failed to take any significant steps to change, the complaint said. Amazon, however, vehemently disputed these claims. In a statement to CyberGuy, an Amazon spokesperson vehemently denied the allegations, saying:

The FTC’s claims are factually and legally false. In fact, customers love Prime, and we designed it to make it clear and simple for customers to sign up for or cancel their Prime membership. As with all of our products and services, we are constantly listening to customer feedback and looking for ways to improve the customer experience, and we look forward to the facts becoming clear as this case unfolds. We also found that the FTC announced this without informing us during our discussions with FTC staff to ensure they understood the facts, context, and legal issues, and before we were able to have a conversation with the FTC. a lawsuit. Commissioners themselves before filing a lawsuit. While the lack of normal class participation is very disappointing, we look forward to proving our case in court. ”

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FTC files lawsuit against Amazon

FTC sues Amazon (

Kurt’s key takeaways

The FTC’s charges against Amazon have raised serious concerns about the company’s practices and its use of dark mode to enroll customers into Amazon Prime without their consent. What needs to be known, however, is that this lawsuit is still ongoing, and it’s too early to tell where it will lead, or whether, as the FTC claims, those who were duped will be rewarded in any way. If Amazon has indeed been defrauding customers and making it difficult to cancel subscriptions, we may see the company’s policies begin to undergo significant and necessary changes. People have the right to choose how their money is spent, and no company, big or small, should be allowed to call the shots for them.

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