Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has sued Amazon, alleging the online retailer of intentionally misleading consumers into signing up for Prime and making it hard to cancel.
It argues that Amazon has violated the FTC “Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act by pushing consumers to enroll in Prime without their consent. The FTC says millions of people have been tricked into signing up for Prime.
At issue here is the way Amazon offers customers options to subscribe to Prime when they are making a purchase at checkout. The FTC says Amazon made it hard to find the option to just checkout without adding Prime. The FTC also says Amazon made it hard to cancel Prime by adding multiple unnecessary steps before unsubscribing from Prime, according to the FTC.
“Amazon tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement Wednesday. “These manipulative tactics harm consumers and law-abiding businesses alike.
Back in May, the FTC and DOJ charged Amazon with violating the Children’s Privacy Law by keeping kids’ voice recordings.
“Amazon’s history of misleading parents, keeping children’s recordings indefinitely, and flouting parents’ deletion requests violated COPPA and sacrificed privacy for profits,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “COPPA does not allow companies to keep children’s data forever for any reason, and certainly not to train their algorithms.”
Amazon was made to pay $25 million and delete children’s data as part of that deal. This settlement also included allegations Ring Employees spied on customers through their devices.
Amazon has not officially commented on the lawsuit at this time. We will have to wait and see what Amazon does next in response to these FTC allegations and the lawsuit.
If the FTC is successful, Amazon maybe forced to change how it markets Prime at checkout. Amazon may also be forced to make canceling Prime easier.