An Open Letter To Jeff Bezos: Please Stop Pissing Off People Over Amazon Prime

from the pretty-pretty-pretty-please dept

Dear Jeff Bezos,

Back in May, we tried to alert you to a serious customer service problem that your company is facing concerning the way you are marketing Amazon Prime. You have a promotion that offers to let people try the program for a month "for free." What's in the fine print is that at the conclusion of this month, if people do not specifically opt-out, then they will automatically be signed up and charged the yearly fee of $79. I'm sure it's a good deal. While I, personally, do not use Amazon Prime, I have some friends who do and they seem to like it just fine.

However, it's become quite clear that many people are not happy with this program -- and that's because it was never made clear to them that they had to opt-out of the program after trying it for a month. Those people receive credit card statements with a surprise charge for $79 for "AMZ*Prime." Many of the folks who receive this charge clearly do not recognize that it is for Amazon Prime. Instead, they go to Google and do a Google search for "AMZ*Prime". The first result happens to point to the story that I wrote in February of 2005 about the launch of Amazon Prime. In the comments to that post there are a number of people who are venting about how they don't remember signing up for Amazon Prime and are pissed off. Those comments keep coming in.

The real problem, though, is that too many people are doing this Google search and are then blaming us, the nice folks at Techdirt, for charging their credit cards for $79. We have been receiving a regular stream of emails and phone calls from people demanding that we refund them their $79, which we never charged them for in the first place. In the last month, despite our earlier pleas to Amazon, the pace of such complaints has only increased. It has become something of a nuisance. We feel bad for these people, though we don't have the time to respond to them all and point them to your own, quite difficult to find, phone number. I realize that you certainly shouldn't be held responsible for people's inability to understand the difference between a blog post about a program and the company running the program itself. However, is it really necessary to use such a scammy technique to sign up people? If you really are offering something of value (and, clearly, some people believe that you are), why not just let people opt-in to the program, rather than telling them you're giving them something for free and then forcing them to opt-out? I think we'd all be better off. I know it must be great to be able to show all those $79 charges to the folks on Wall Street -- but it would be a lot more convincing if it were from people who actually wanted to give you that money.

Thanks,
Mike Masnick
CEO, Techdirt, Inc.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    anon, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:24am

    Wait until this hits the top of Google Search

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Nick, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:34am

    Useful information on how to cancel the charge

    Call Amazon on 866-557-2820 and ask them to cancel your club membership

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:36am

    Since Jeff can't be held responsible for people contacting you, shouldn't he receive Safe Harbor?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Randall Lind, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:40am

    Why should you not be charge if you stay in?

    It makes sense to me if you sign up for a month and don't cancel you get charge the next month.

    What the issue you want Amazon to email every asking if they really wanted to sign up?

    You are a big boy if after 30 days it up to you to opt out. Most companies offer 14 days or 30 days trials and after that you are charge unless you cancel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Matthew, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:42am

    Re:

    Techdirt isn't suing him. They are just sending him a letter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    Why is this surprising?

    I don't get why Amazon Prime is getting such guff, TONS of companies and program do this "trial, but must opt out before the end" thing and also they have done this long before Amazon Prime. They also automatically charge you to keep your subscription going unless you specify otherwise. Reunion.com, Classmates.com, Match.com, Yahoo! Personals, Shockwave Unlimited just to name a few.

    Beside, I like Amazon Prime a lot. I have used it for years and think it is completely worth the money. If you are really getting harassed by all these people, why not put in BIG read letters at the top of this post: "This is NOT Amazon. If you want to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription, contact yada yada yada"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:45am

    Stop whining.

    What a whiny ass blog post. People who can't figure out the difference between a blog post and the website they shop on shouldn't be trusted with a credit card to begin with.

    I signed up for the Prime trial when it first began, and it was made *very* clear that I could opt out at any time, but if I did not then I would be billed at the end of 30 days. Amazon even emailed me prior to the trial end as a reminder. Amazon has emailed me every year prior to the renewal, and I have renewed it once already - and will renew again next year.

    In short - stop whining. This has been an embarrassing article written by someone who obviously never tried the Prime membership. Amazon has been the best company I've ever dealt with - and I've used their customer service as a measuring stick to measure other companies.

    I actually wouldn't blame them for hiding their contact number if it is these types of morons calling them day in and out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    pilgrim, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:45am

    If they can't tell the difference ...

    I'm not a big fan of opt-out programs generally, but Amazon's strikes me as having better disclosure of terms than most such programs. And seriously, if the people who are complaining to you are too stupid to recognize the difference between a blog post about Amazon Prime, and the actual purveyors of Amazon Prime, then it's unclear whether *any* disclosure is going to be clear enough to avoid suckering them. Seriously -- I've read that Techdirt post. It's not like it's difficult to tell that it's written *about* Amazon, not *by* Amazon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    gdoss, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:49am

    Sorry you are getting stupid people blaming you for their own stupidity, but I disagree completely that this is Amazon's fault. Here the second paragraph of the e-mail I received in May from Amazon Prime after I signed up to get free shipping on my order:

    "When your trial membership ends, it will be automatically upgraded to a 12-month membership for $79. You will have the opportunity to opt out of the automatic upgrade before the trial ends. You can opt out of the upgrade, change your payment method for the upgrade, and perform other administrative tasks for your Amazon Prime membership in Your Account:

    http://www.amazon.com/your-account"

    How amazingly deceptive!?! BS. Amazon let me know ahead of accepting the offer and let me know after accepting the offer. They even provided a link directly to my account after telling me how to stop the charge.

    And you know what? I even forgot to cancel after 30 days, saw the charge on day 31, requested to cancel and got a complete refund--no hassles, no questions.

    You have written about this before and I really do not get your angle on this--except for you are tired of idiots thinking you are Amazon. Amazon does not force you into Prime, they offer you a trial. It is entirely your choice to accept the trial or not. Once you accept, they CLEARLY tell you you have 30 days free or you will be charged.

    I'm all for attacking companies when they practice underhanded marketing and most of the companies you criticize I am right there with you--including Amazon for other reasons. But I strongly disagree that this is the case with the current sign-up process for Amazon Prime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Davey, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Randall, yeah, I'd expect an honest company to send an email telling them that their free trial has expired and they will be enrolled and charged unless they cancel now. Mike used exactly the right term for this: sleaze. Bezos won't get in trouble with the law over this, but he is further damaging his company's reputation as a trustworthy enterprise. Customers and investors will take that into account in their decisions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re:

    Matt. Ummm, joke much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Re: Stop whining.

    Amazon has been the best company I've ever dealt with - and I've used their customer service as a measuring stick to measure other companies.

    I agree. I have only once had a problem with a product and they sent me a new one right away (overnight) without even waiting for the defective product to be returned.

    And they really stand by Amazon Prime too. I ordered a playhouse for my niece which weighed upwards of 200-pounds and I still got free shipping and I got the product delivered in 2-days. Try and find that deal anywhere else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    no, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:51am

    People are stupid.

    I agree that it should be made very clear that you will be automatically charged after a month and they should alert you with a reminder just prior to charging you. However, every subscription to anything I've ever paid for online has been an automatic renewal at the end of a trial period. Common sense would tell you to write down the date and make sure you double check in 30 days to see if you need to cancel anything. That doesn't excuse Amazon failing to indicate that you are going to be re-upped, though. That really sucks.

    As for people thinking Techdirt is charging them? Well, fuck them. How stupid are you if you are getting a charge that says "Amazon Prime"... which you knowingly trialled at Amazon . . . and then you assume any random top google result for the words "amazon prime" must therefore be the people charging you?!

    As for Amazon Prime itself. Man, what a great service. I was able to order a microwave and it arrived 48 hours later. No shipping fee (it was included in Prime). I ordered a Kitchen-Aide stand mixer. Very heavy. Arrived 48 hours later for no shipping fee. I buy gifts for family and friends and have it shipped directly to them, without having to worry that I'm going to pay $10 shipping for a $20 gift. Hell, I have even purchased a $3.00 roll of duct tape and it arrived 48 hours later with no shipping fee. How awesome is that?!

    Amazon Prime is so useful (for me, at least) that I often won't even consider an item if it doesn't include Prime shipping. I just wish there was a simple way that you could filter all non-Prime products out of your results (the greasemonkey scripts people have written don't seem to actually work).

    Of course, if you don't spend much at Amazon, then the $80 subscription probably isn't very useful for you. Since I have probably spent $20,000 at Amazon in the last six years, the $80 annual feel for expedited and free or cheap shipping service is great. I would shop with them a lot less if they took away this service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    IC, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    Re: Why should you not be charge if you stay in?

    Yes. They should send and email asking if I would like to keep it.. Plain and simple. If they can send me an email about every step my order takes coming to my door, or recommendations that I would never read, they can send an email confirming I want it at the end of 30 days.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    I'd expect an honest company to send an email telling them that their free trial has expired and they will be enrolled and charged unless they cancel now.

    Obviously you have never signed up for the trial because Amazon DOES send you an email, a couple in fact, letting you know you will be charged unless you opt-out.

    When you post about something you know nothing about you look like an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:57am

    The answer to many of these problems is

    to read.
    Pass the 3rd grade and read.
    If they shove something under your nose and say you must agree and sign, then you make them wait while you read.

    Read, it is the only defense against stupidity and ignorance.

    read.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    Sorry you are getting stupid people blaming you for their own stupidity, but I disagree completely that this is Amazon's fault. Here the second paragraph of the e-mail I received in May from Amazon Prime after I signed up to get free shipping on my order

    I agree that they say so, but clearly many, many, many people do not read this.

    I'm all for attacking companies when they practice underhanded marketing and most of the companies you criticize I am right there with you--including Amazon for other reasons. But I strongly disagree that this is the case with the current sign-up process for Amazon Prime.

    See how you would feel if all the complaints were coming to you. When you are getting as many as we get, you begin to realize that there *clearly* are a lot of people who are confused by this. You say that they shouldn't be -- and I may agree with that. However, you're not the one dealing with all the angry complaints. We are. :) So I can say with great certainty that no matter how much people *should* know about this, many do not. And that's something that Amazon should be aware of. Hence this post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    drkkgt, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:03am

    Me too

    I use Prime and I know I was warned several times that I would be charged at the end of the trial period. People need to read what you are signing up for. It wasn't buried down in there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    NPGMBR, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    I took advantage of that offer and opted out just a few days before the grace period ended. No big deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    JohnDenver, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    People need to read

    I signed up for the trial. It clearly stated that you would be charged the $79 if you didn't opt out by the end of the thirty days. I didn't opt out, because I buy enough stuff from Amazon to make this a very good deal for me. My point is people don't read. I have worked in retail before. When people came to my counter to make a purchase, they would ask me if we take credit cards. There were Visa, MC, AMX stickers on the door and the counter and the POS terminal. You couldn't turn your head without seeing a sticker. I don't know if they are just lazy or lost in their own little worlds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:06am

    Open Letter to Mike

    Dear Mike,

    A get a life.

    Insincerely,

    Your mom

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:09am

    Re: Mike

    Again - stop whining.

    Look - I understand that it can be frustrating to have all these angry strangers emailing you because of their own stupidity... but let us look at the common denominator:

    These people didn't 'read' the "fine print"
    These people didn't 'read' the 2 reminder emails to cancel

    Why not write an "open letter to morons who don't read" instead of using words such as "scammy" and "sleazy" to describe a company whose practice - even if you don't agree with it - is the least obtrusive and most straight-forward I've ever seen.

    I dislike companies who sign you up for free trials without your knowledge. Amazon however requires a multi-step process to sign up for this trial. They provide you all the information you require in order to learn cost, savings.

    The fact that reading comprehension and understanding of what the word "trial" and "opt-out" means is not Amazon's fault.

    If anything it says that they have some stupid customers mixed in with the good - and these stupid customers know how to use email.

    Why not put your open letter to morons at the top of the old post in question?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    See how you would feel if all the complaints were coming to you. When you are getting as many as we get, you begin to realize that there *clearly* are a lot of people who are confused by this. You say that they shouldn't be -- and I may agree with that. However, you're not the one dealing with all the angry complaints. We are. :) So I can say with great certainty that no matter how much people *should* know about this, many do not. And that's something that Amazon should be aware of. Hence this post.

    So, basically you are whining and blaming Amazon without doing anything on your website or in your posts to help redirect people and maybe stop the complaints for coming in.

    It seems like you want Amazon to save you, but how do you expect them to do that? They send emails (CLEAR emails mind you) and it is not that hard to find their number, again on the emails or their website, to call them if they have problems. Save Amazon canceling Amazon Prime program or sending each recipient a singing telegram towards the end of their trial period, what do you expect them to do?

    You are way off base here Mike and this post makes you sound like whiner and not anyone willing to do anything to help the situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:11am

    Re: People need to read

    I ask a lot of times despite seeing these signs because more than once the machine was 'out of order' and I end up feeling like an asshole after waiting in line only to be told I can't pay.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Wolfger, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:19am

    I'm slipping!

    My two blog entries (one referencing your article, and one referencing my first blog entry and how much traffic it draws -- usually #1 or #2 on page views each day) have fallen to search results #9 and #10 (just below amazon.com at #7 and #8). Back when I was ranked higher (#3) I would get a lot of comments accusing me of ripping people off, and demanding a refund. One humorous individual wrote twice, on two different days. Apparently he ignored my reply to his first comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:21am

    Fanboys

    I didn't realize Amazon had fanboys. I suggest sending them a copy of all of the spam you get because of Amazom Prime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Dan, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:23am

    I can't help but think that the MPAA, the RIAA, and the patent trolls are all laughing at Mike's problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Chris Mattmiller, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:24am

    Re: Why should you not be charge if you stay in?

    I feel the same way. I haven't signed up for Amazon Prime, there are hundreds of offers out there that state Free for a Month and the fine print states the same thing, if you don't cancel after the month you will be charged. Are these people just not that bright that they don't ask themselves "if its free for a month, why do I have to enter a credit card?".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Petréa Mitchell, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:35am

    How many complaints?

    Just curious, how many complaints a day are you getting now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Dave, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:38am

    Trial

    I took the trial and canceled before being charged. It was very easy. Amazon did a great job. There was no effort to hide the fact that I would be charged if I didn't cancel. Instead of writing an open letter to Jeff Bezos, you should write an open letter to the idiots that contact you to cancel a charge that they should have known was coming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    richard jakubowski, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:39am

    amazon prime

    perhaps u should contact the investor relations dept of amazon with ur comments about opting out...and until amazon fixes the problem have a letter formatted by your pr guy/gal so that when the complaints come to you, you can have a form letter sent to them directin them to amazon's investor relations/public relations dept and another to their state attorney's general to complain about the sneaky small print

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:44am

    Were I a cynic, I would think that the open letter is used more to drive traffic than it was to notify Amazon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    E!, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:47am

    no way, fine print?

    It was made clear to me when I joined.
    But I'm one of those weirdos that read stuff.

    And seriously, what "free month" offer ever comes with an "opt-in" clause.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:50am

    FACT 1: PEOPLE ARE DUMB
    this is taken from MiB
    Jay: Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it.
    Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.

    the masses will go where they are told...heck, i was a victim of one of these "scams" i signed up for a free cupon, but ended up paying god knows how much before really noticing it on my bank statement.

    but on the agreement it said you will be billed....

    so, this is legal, but it isn't the best way of doing business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Andy, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:52am

    Wow

    Amazon fanboys are terrible... who knew the existed?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Buzz, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:53am

    opt-out = unfair

    I personally feel that most (if not all) opt-out services are shady practices. The whole concept of "say something before we charge for a service you may not even end up using" is absurd. My father would become enraged when he would receive mail stating, "Dear Mr. Brown, You have been selected as an early tester of our new services X, Y, and Z! Unless you tell us otherwise, you will be signed up and charged for the following prototypes." Amazon is less tricky about the whole process, but why employ the tactic that "inactivity = willing compliance"? If the service is so wonderful, let people opt-in!

    I support this open letter, Mike. ^_^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:55am

    Re: Fanboys

    I suggest you visit your account section of Amazon Prime and turn off the emails. Unlike most companies - they will actually stop!

    I'm not trying to suggest that Jeff Bezos' tears cure cancer. What I am suggesting is that this is an irresponsible blog post by tech dirt and it comes across as petty and whiny.

    As an everyday visitor of both websites, I'd like to make that opinion known.

    How about an open letter apology?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:56am

    Re: opt-out = unfair

    I support this open letter, Mike.

    You support letters from CEOs whining that they are not getting their way? There were better ways to word this letter than falling back to name calling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:58am

    Re: opt-out = unfair

    People have to "Opt-In" to the trial. As a part of this, they are told that they have a free 30 days, and if they do not wish to be billed they should return to the account section and cancel (via a 2-click process).

    Amazon doesn't just randomly start charging you. Stop whining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Brian, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:08am

    Enough complaining

    As already mentioned, there are many many many companies that do this. If it is in the fine print they are fine. This is standard practice, not "scammy". Lets see a list of companies that send out opt in emails or that cancel the subscription on their own after 30 days. Not going to happen. If the email is too much to handle, take the article down and redirect the url of the article to the Amazon contact page.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Dave, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:19am

    Awwwwwwww

    How the heck do you get to be the CEO of anything whining like this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Brian, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:20am

    Prime = :)

    Prime is awesome...I signed up after I saw it was $65 for normal shipping on item...I got it next day for $3.95 or whatever the upgrade costs. Just do what I did. Sign up. Wait 5 minutes...get confirmation email...cancel Prime...STILL use Prime for the next 30 days (alot)...profit?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    dorpass, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:31am

    Whiners whining about "whining"

    So I see many people responding here think that if one business experiences undue burden due to another (unrelated) business's behavior, they should just be quiet and spend money/resources to deal with it. I think every legal approach is fair in getting the nuisance to stop, be it open letter or direct calls and email.
    Something tells me that the whiners here complain bitterly if telemarketing calls them instead of someone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    snitsrevenge, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:32am

    Waste of money

    A big downside to Amazon Prime is that it does not get you any discounts at all when you purchase items off Amazon that are through 3rd party vendors. 8 out of 10 items I have purchased over the last year did not qualify for the Prime discount.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Mattb, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:34am

    Gimme back my money

    I have some weird charge for AMZ*Prime. Now I know Mike stole my $79. Gimme back my money, Mike. I know you are in collusion with them.


    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Michael, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:37am

    Prime not so tricky

    I tried out the prime trial and was satisfied with the notice Amazon gave regarding the subscription rate. They even allowed me to cancel it immediately after the first order but continue to use it until the trial expired. Plus, you can cancel online--a lot of places make you call and talk to someone to cancel this type of service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Blue Bearr, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 11:49am

    Suggested Mail Filter

    If [(Subject) contains (AMZ*PRIME) or (Amazon Prime)]
    or [(Body) contains ($79.00 charge)] then
    [move to (Trash)]
    [send reply:
    Dear Madam or Sir:

    You have contacted TechDirt regarding the $79 charge to your credit card for the Amazon Prime shipping program.

    Unfortunately, we cannot assist you in this matter, because we are not affiliated with Amazon nor Amazon.com.

    We wish you success in recovering your funds. If in the future you wish to purchase items from a vendor with less questionable billing practices, we recommend that you contact our affiliate, http://barnsandnoble.com/techdirt.

    Thank you

    ]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:04pm

    Thanks,
    Mike Masnick
    CEO, Techdirt, Inc.


    How dumb can you get?

    If the telephone information is not available. Post it on your web site by your e-mail address.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Suggested Mail Filter

    Ha, I like this. Recommending Barnes and Nobles would for sure make Amazon take notice of the "burden" placed on TechDirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Whiners whining about "whining"

    You are missing the point. Tech Dirt is not experiencing an undue burden because of Amazon's business behavior. Tech Dirt is experiencing an undue burden because people are morons who cannot read.

    Idiot: "Hey, a free trial for Amazon Prime! Awww... I don't wanna read two paragraphs... *click click click*"

    30 Days Later...

    Idiot: "Hey, my credit card got charged $79.00 for something called AMZ*PRIME... I don't know what that is! I'll tap it into Google!... AH HAH I FOUND TEH CULPRIT! Gimme back my money!"


    The process of Amazon prime:

    1. Amazon offers you a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime. You are under no obligation to enter this trial - and if you do enter you are given about 2 paragraphs of text to read which tells you that if you do not cancel the trial you will be billed at the end of the month.
    2. Amazon emails you at least twice during this 30 days to remind you to cancel if you do not want to be charged.
    3. If you wait until after the 30 days and are charged - you can contact Amazon and 10 times out of 10 they will reverse the charge and you won't be billed.


    Morons who refuse to read, then end up getting charged, and don't know what in the hell they signed up for should not be allowed to have a credit card.

    They are the reason we have high APR's on cards. Because of idiots.

    Stop whining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Jon G., Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    Wow huge discounts? For free!? Sign me up!

    I have to agree with M Cooper on this one - I tried Amazon Prime for the trial too and was perfectly satisfied with the notice they gave me that I would be charged $79 if I didn't cancel within 30 days. I took the time to read what I was signing up for, I didn't just expect to get price cuts and free shipping for nothing.

    That's how a trial works people. You sign up for something, and if you don't like it, you sent it back or cancel it. If you don't send it back and you don't cancel it, you're saying "I like it - go ahead and bill me." As mentioned previously, this is commonplace, and by comparison with some companies I've dealt with, not the least bit scammy. Ever tried to cancel a Rhapsody subscription?

    I would hope most of the readers of TechDirt are savvy enough to pick up on this - and the people that are googling into TechDirt aren't regular readers. I think the next article should be "An Open letter to dumb internet users: Not EVERYTHING on the internet is free. Read what you're signing up for." Not quite as catchy, but you get the idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Jon G., Oct 25th, 2007 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Fanboys

    If it comes to taking the side of a company that discloses information in a perfectly clear manner, or users who apparently can't read, I'm siding with the company. How about instead of googling the charge, we maybe call up our credit card company and ask them to research the charge - and maybe even dispute it. Better yet, how about we read what we're signing up for BEFORE clicking the [I AGREE] button.

    Amazon's not perfect, but they don't deserve the flak they're catching for this service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Bob Sadler, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:30pm

    I really don't think you've thought this through

    This is something I'm very familiar with myself, since just two days ago I bought a new headset from Amazon, and one of the reasons that I did buy it from Amazon was they were offering FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING with it.

    I went ahead and placed my order, but noticed I was still being charged for shipping. I quickly canceled that order and went back to where the FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING tag was, and read the whole note. It said if I were to sign up for AMAZON PRIME that I would get FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING. At first I thought, "no way in hell" but then I kept reading, it really wasn't a very long note after all, and it said right there in plain every day language, that I could OPT-OUT by changing my ACCOUNT Options the very next day, but I would still get the advantages of AMAZON PRIME for a complete month.

    Now I understand that some people don't take time to read what you say is "fine print", and usually I'm one of those people, but this wasn't "FINE PRINT", this was actually right there on the same page that explained why I would received FREE SHIPPING and what I could do to OPT-OUT.

    You are supposed to be responsible for your actions, and that means that you need to read, even the FINE PRINT, or you can be signing up for just about anything. Now, I can understand if there was no notice about how to opt-out of Amazon Prime, but from my personal experience, there was sufficient notice and not only did they allow me to opt-out, but they even allowed me to stay an Amazon Prime customer for a month, for nothing. Adults especially need to recognize that they are responsible for their actions, and even if something is "hidden" in the fine print, they need to read it all, or take their lumps for not reading it all.

    I know this "letter" only deals with Amazon, but let's not be fooled into thinking that Amazon is the ONLY company that "hides" items in the fine print. Just about every single company has so called deals just like this, and are far worse then Amazon about hiding the details. From what I went through myself, I can say Amazon didn't hide the opt-out message, and I was quite surprised by this in fact. So really, I think you need to look a little bit closer at Amazon, and compare them with other companies, and you will see Amazon isn't the evil you pretend them to be. Not only that, but you should also recognize the fact that we are adults and as adults we have to be responsible for signing anything. I could understand and even empathize with you if this was one of those times when Amazon actually never said how to opt-out, or even offered you a link explaining the whole situation, then I would be right there with you. That just isn't the case though, at least not for me, therefore, I say, you got it wrong, Amazon isn't hiding things in fine print, and even if they did, you have the responsibility to read that fine print, since you are agreeing to it. Just like you read those contracts you sign for buying a house, or a car, or even that employment contract you negotiated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    dorpass, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:34pm

    M Cooper

    Good point. Techdirt should do nothing, that's a brilliant strategy. Like I said, I am sure you'd be calling everyone and their mom if you were being called/emailed because of a mix up with email or phone number. Unless you claim that you would just patiently explain each caller/emailer that they got the wrong person. Then you are Jesus Christ himself and should take over responding at Techdirt. Stop your own whining and propose a solution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    KAT, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    Amazon Prime

    I had Amazon Prime during the first launch and they sent me 2 or 3 emails after my free 3 months and it was quite easy to opt out.

    I got a second month free when I guess they relaunched it. Then I forgot to opt out but have ended up enjoying it.

    My boyfriend signed up for a free month, when it got close, he went to the site, went to the tab and all he had to do was click one button and he was done.

    No hassles, easy to do!

    Therefore I think I side with Amazon on this...people need to learn to read the fine print and not blame others when they forget to cancel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Ken, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:39pm

    Hey, it works for porn...

    If you really are offering something of value (and, clearly, some people believe that you are), why not just let people opt-in to the program, rather than telling them you're giving them something for free and then forcing them to opt-out? I think we'd all be better off.

    This business model (opt-in) seems to work fine for the porn sites. Not that have actual experience with 'those' sites!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    rbtroj, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:42pm

    @ E!

    It was made clear to me when I joined.
    But I'm one of those weirdos that read stuff.


    It was made clear to me too when I joined and I'm NOT one those weirdos that read stuff ... but I am a weirdo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 1:59pm

    Well...

    At least he is saying something about it instead of just letting the comments pile up with no response. I'm not saying I have sypathy or pity for these customers (because there plenty of "trials" out there that do have hidden charges) but I'd be upset if I were the target of the misplaced anger of credit card customers.

    And besides he could just do the "Amercian thing" and sued Amazon for irreparable damages caused by blah, blah, blah....copyright infringment (I think all lawsuits must include copyright infringment these days)....blah....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Phillip (profile), Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:03pm

    Canceling Prime is easy

    I had prime and was considering keeping it, however I realized I was not going to be ordering things anymore like I had been. So about a month into the program I had not yet used it. I contacted amazon about canceling it and maybe getting it pro-rated or something, they said since I've never used it since going to the full year they would give me a full refund.

    It sure was really easy for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Well...

    And besides he could just do the "Amercian thing" and sued Amazon for irreparable damages caused by blah, blah, blah....copyright infringment (I think all lawsuits must include copyright infringment these days)....blah....

    Actually, you are wrong. Since TechDirt wrote an opinion article on Amazon and happened to get slammed with dumb comments, it is technically their fault for posting the story in the first place.

    It is not like Amazon forced them to publish the story, although I am sure TechDirt regrets it now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Re: M Cooper

    I actually thought the auto-email solution above was fine if they want to go that route.

    Honestly - Tech Dirt's CEO could solve his problem without whining and coming across as a spoiled brat - name-calling because he isn't getting his way. Calling Amazon "scammy" or "sleazy" is uncalled for. I am pointing out that it is not Amazon's fault.

    It is the moronic people who email Techdirt because they forgot what they signed up for and ignored all of the times they were told to cancel if they don't want to get charged.

    Where do you disagree?

    Amazon isn't to blame here. It is the fact that some people apparently were given credit cards after flunking high school.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    NOT AMAZON, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 3:02pm

    NOT AMAZON

    I DEMAND YOU REFUND MY MONEY RIGHT NOW!

    Just kidding, I thought that thread with all the dumbasses demanding techdirt refund money that amazon took from them was one of the funniest threads on the internets lately. It shows how dumb people can be. Having worked a tech support hotline for 5 years, I know just how truely stupid people can be. Like, how the hell did these people tie their shoes in the morning, let alone log on to the web and order from Amazon?

    These people should have full time babysitters. Or, not allowed to own/use any technology more advanced than a microwave oven.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Eric, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 3:08pm

    An Open Letter To Jeff Bezos

    lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Shane, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 5:24pm

    Yeah, unfortunately it's the marketer's/sales people you have to point the finger at. Basically, they've got no scruples. Basically used car salesman in suits. I've worked for companies that use this exact technique.

    The reason why it is so successful is that a high percentage (I can't remember the exact %) of people "forget" to opt-out. So basically, their credit card is automatically dinged each month. In turn, the percentage of chargebacks are small.

    The sucker punch is that people are legally bound to pay!!! Anyway this scam is very profitable because it takes advantage of peoples stupidity - not reading the fine print.

    If Amazon really wants to keep their members then they should add a feature whereby the member is notified at least a week before the billing date ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 5:48pm

    I signed up for the trial and thought the conditions were made very clear. In fact, I remember reading instructions on exactly what to do in order to opt-out, which was pretty easy to do. I was signed up and opted out within a couple minutes if that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Ted, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 9:54pm

    Amazon Prime is a normal subscription

    There's nothing odd at all about what they do. This is exactly what many subscription services do. Credit cards, privacy protection services, gym memberships, Comcast cable, ...

    Why should Amazon be the first one to offer non-recuring free subscriptions... in fact, I don't think I'd even call that a subscription. That's just free stuff handed out to consumers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 25th, 2007 @ 10:06pm

    Re: Re: Well...

    You say that like actually being right or wrong has stopped someone from filing a lawsuit...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 3:13am

    M Cooper

    I think M Cooper must work support for some major corporation like Amazon. His attitude of "stop whining" and repeating it seems to be on par with customer service of most corporations.

    Techdirt has a legit complaint, they made a news post about Amazon ripping off customers with the old opt-out scheme, and they get morons harrassing them about it. If Amazon would like to pay Techdirt to be their support, then fine, but I highly doubt Amazon is paying Mike.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    baconlover, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 4:54am

    lame

    Quit complaining. This is a typical program. Can't help people's stupidity. Amazon Prime is a great program for those who take advantage of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Scott, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:08am

    they were asking for it

    Maybe it's because I've subscribed to one to many 3-day porno deals but I think every Amazon user should be saavy enough to negotiate the pitfalls of a free trial. I did an Amazon prime trial, last holiday season. It was great. I was able to upgrade all my shipping to 2-day at no extra cost. I just set a calendar notice to remind me to unsubscribe by the deadline.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:17am

    Mike, file a lawsuit against Amazon so then you can post an article here talking about how stupid some lawsuits can be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 7:00am

    Re: M Cooper

    What is legitimate about Tech Dirt's complaint?

    Amazon has an 'opt-IN' trial. You are given a two paragraph synopsis that tells you that you have enrolled in Amazon Prime - and the first 30 days are free. If you do not like the service you have the first 30 days to opt-OUT and you are reminded via two emails during this period that you need to cancel (via a 2-click process) if you do not want to be billed.

    There is nothing confusing about the process. The people Tech Dirt is complaining about - and honestly I believe that it is a small number of folks and Mike just wanted to blow off steam and "stick it to the man" while driving up his ad views - are people who apparently cannot read and just click through everything.

    Amazon doesn't give you a 500 page EULA like Software companies do. Amazon doesn't sign you up for something without your knowledge.

    It requires full user participation and agreement to even get INTO the free trial - and it requires basic reading comprehension to get OUT of the free trial.

    No I don't work support for any corporation. Just someone who does deal in business matters - and if my CEO was *whining* like Mike I'd sell off all my stock.

    Honestly - if the people are so damn stupid that they cannot remember where Amazon.com is located (hint: type Amazon.com into your address bar and hit enter) - they aren't going to be receptive to anything Amazon does - even if they have flashing banners saying "HEY BUDDY - YOU ARE GONNA BE CHARGED NOW!"

    Amazon doesn't make it hard to get out of the trial. Go to your account section, click "prime", click "do not renew", click "save".

    Amazon.com - and you're done.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Botch the Crab, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: M Cooper

    You know, M Cooper, you actually have a semi-legitimate point; while it can be argued that Amazon is not doing a good enough job about informing customers about the opt-out aspect of Amazon Prime, it is ultimately the ignorance of the customers who are to blame.

    That said, you are being a complete and total dick in all of your posts, i.e. "Stop whining" and "coming across as a spoiled brat"

    I don't see how anything in the original post was "whining" or "spoiled". They are simply arguing that Amazon is not doing a good enough job at informing its customers about the policy, and suggesting that the opt-out approach is not the best one. That hardly seems like whining. In fact, your overly-vehement and spiteful defense of Amazon is coming across as far more childish and trollish than anything else in this thread.

    You've made your point. Several times, over and over. Now please: Stop trolling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: M Cooper

    My problem is that the original article is filled with falsehoods - and this "open letter" is more misinformed than any customer could ever be by Amazon's clear policy.

    The way Amazon prime works is misrepresented, and the author himself admits to not trying the program.

    You argue that Amazon is failing in informing customers about the way it works. I've pointed out how ludicrous that argument is - and the fact remains:

    Customers aren't even going to Amazon to complain. They are typing into Google and complaining to the first result which is obviously not the company involved with Amazon Prime.

    If they are this brain-dead, ignoring two emails from Amazon.com reminding them to cancel, ignoring the signup process which informs them specifically in 2 paragraphs - not even "fine print" - these people are the problem.

    Mike Masnick should apologize to Amazon for misrepresenting the way the program works, and clarifying that it is idiots who are issued credit cards who are the problem.

    Beyond that - he should automate his email to filter it out. It takes about 30 seconds, and since he is the head of a big tech guru company I'm sure using basic functionality of Outlook should be within his grasp.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 26th, 2007 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: M Cooper

    M Cooper,

    I'm not sure why you think I somehow lied here. The fact remains, despite your insistence that Amazon has clearly informed people, that an awful lot of people disagree. Otherwise, they wouldn't be confused and they wouldn't be contacting us. Who am I to believe? All the people who ARE confused and are contacting us on a regular basis, or the single datapoint of you, who thinks everything's peachy?

    The point of my post was to *let Amazon know* that they have a problem. That problem is that many, many, many people do not understand the terms of the deal as presented. The fact that you did, and that others have as well doesn't make a difference on that point. Amazon has pissed off a lot of people, and since many of them are coming to us, Amazon doesn't know that.

    The point of this letter was to inform them of those pissed off customers. If I were Amazon, I'd want to know that, and I'd want to do everything possible to avoid pissing those people off. You, obviously, have a different opinion -- which is your right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 2:41pm

    Re: M Cooper

    Allow me to point out what I believe is misrepresented, and what you would know if you bothered to try out Amazon's Prime trial:

    "You have a promotion that offers to let people try the program for a month "for free." What's in the fine print is that at the conclusion of this month, if people do not specifically opt-out, then they will automatically be signed up and charged the yearly fee of $79."

    There is no fine print. It is stated plainly that you can sign up for Amazon Prime. The first month is free. If you do not wish to enroll for the year - you simply go to your account and turn off the renewal. There is no underhanded behavior here.

    "However, it's become quite clear that many people are not happy with this program -- and that's because it was never made clear to them that they had to opt-out of the program after trying it for a month."

    If you bothered to try it out, and as I and others have pointed out, Amazon lets you know during the signup process - and it isn't hidden in a bunch of legalese. It is spelled out very plainly in about two paragraphs.

    Further - Amazon also emails you *twice* during this month to turn off your renewal if you were not satisfied with the program, and you will not be billed. To suggest that Amazon has a problem is ludicrous - because obviously these people are so stupid that they do not remember signing up for Prime in the first place, and don't even have an idea who to complain to.

    Your open letter should have been addressed to people who cannot read. Amazon should not be responsible for testing the education level of those signing up for prime - but perhaps credit card companies should.

    "However, is it really necessary to use such a scammy technique to sign up people?"

    Despite the fact that "scammy" is not a word - to scam someone involves some sort of legal culpability. You have to be doing something illegal.

    Amazon is not - and as a matter of fact, they are very open about what the "opt-in" and "opt-out" trial for Amazon prime is about. It isn't even anything resembling underhanded.

    You sign up for Prime, the first 30 days or free, cancel immediately and you can still use the 30 days of Amazon prime.

    How many other companies would do this? You could cost them thousands of dollars in shipping within that 30 days were you of a mind to do so, and they still leave it open.

    "If you really are offering something of value (and, clearly, some people believe that you are), why not just let people opt-in to the program, rather than telling them you're giving them something for free and then forcing them to opt-out?"

    People *do* have to opt-in. People aren't misrepresented that "hey - you are getting 30 days free to do nothing." As has been pointed out multiple times - Amazon reminds you - both when signing up and through email (twice) to turn it off if you do not wish to renew.

    Your insinuation that they are doing something underhanded is uncalled for, and I believe you owe Jeff Bezos an apology - considering your entire article is ignorant of the most basic facts.

    And I'm just an Amazon customer, and I know these things just because I've done business with them for 2 years, and I actually signed up for a Prime trial (unlike yourself) and am aware of how it works.

    If I wanted to cancel Prime right now - it is literally a few clicks away. They email me every year prior to the auto-renew, and I *voluntarily* ignore that email.

    You are defending people who seem like the sort to go on a drinking binge and spend $500.00 at a bar on drinks 'for everyone' and then complain because they didn't want to spend that much.

    Whatever my personal belief of Amazon's business practices - the fact remains that the people who are complaining to you should not have been trusted with a credit card to begin with.

    That has nothing to do with Amazon or yourself. You should apologize for insinuating that Amazon was doing something illegal first and foremost.

    How about some journalistic integrity - why not sign up for Prime, cancel, and see how easy/hard it is so you can make a balanced story?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    zergy, Oct 26th, 2007 @ 5:46pm

    Mike & M Cooper

    Mike, as always, you are very polite good job in your responses.

    M Cooper, your last post was much better than all the previous. But as soon as you get insulting all your credability goes out the window. Why does this erk you so badly? Let it be

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 26th, 2007 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re: M Cooper


    How about some journalistic integrity - why not sign up for Prime, cancel, and see how easy/hard it is so you can make a balanced story?


    I have never claimed to be a journalist... but to answer your other points. In the first post on this subject, back in May, I did state that it was relatively easy to see the details that you had to opt-out. However, it IS in the fine print.

    If I go to Amazon right now, plastered all over the top of the site: "Buy Now And Get Free Two Day Shipping" and "You qualify for a FREE trial of Amazon Prime." That's the big print. The details are the fine print. And by highlighting the FREE part, when it's not, this is what I and many others do consider to be scammy. Yes, many other companies do it, but you shouldn't say it's free. You should say: sign up now and cancel within 30 days to avoid paying. Note the difference?

    Either way, I like how you totally skip over my main point: this post was not to blast Amazon, but to make it clear to them that they have a problem that they might not know about.

    And don't think I have anything against Amazon. I've used it for years, and in fact ordered a bunch of things from them just last night.

    The point remains: this is a problem that Amazon is facing, and I am trying to alert them of that. Your response is that Amazon should just let those pissed off customers remain pissed off. I have more faith in Amazon's marketing staff that they would prefer to treat their customers better.

    So, we differ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Lisa, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 1:19am

    Maybe the opt out is not the issue here...

    Um seems to me that the actual problem is people not connecting the fact that AMZ prime is Amazon Prime - if they connected that in their head they woudl go to Amazon and not some google and email some random site. Who knows, many of the complainants may really WANT amazon prime and just don't recognize AMZ. Did any of these people who email/call you specifically say they don't want Amazon Prime? If not then they may just want the unrecognized charge off of their card and it could have NOTHING to do with the opt out process. Just sayin...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    seth brundle, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    Are you serious?

    In this day and age, are we as consumers not educated to the free trial opt-out? Its ridiculously common.

    I recently bit the bullet on this and tried the free trial - and within a month *easily* got $80 worth of expedited shipping and am definitely going to be using Amazon much more.

    When I signed up, without even reading the fine print I assumed it was an opt-out before the end deal.

    I no longer care about 'bundling' my Amazon purchases, and one-click prime stuff when I need it - it makes online shopping much more usable.

    The only downside to it is that there are a lot of products - maybe even most - and entire *categories* of products - which are not fulfilled by Amazon directly and not eligible for Amazon Prime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 27th, 2007 @ 11:04am

    Re: Maybe the opt out is not the issue here...

    Did any of these people who email/call you specifically say they don't want Amazon Prime? If not then they may just want the unrecognized charge off of their card and it could have NOTHING to do with the opt out process. Just sayin...

    That is a good point. No, the people do not say they didn't want Amazon prime. They all want to know why *we* charged them $79. They have no idea it has anything to do with Amazon.

    So, perhaps that is a point that should be raised. It is not clearly described on the cc bill, and there isn't a good way for some people to figure out what it means.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 4:51pm

    Perhaps Mike's frustration is misdirected at Amazon when it should be directed at the people that are mistaking his site for the place to complain but to get mad and call him a whiner for not liking being the accidental target is just silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Internet Guy, Oct 27th, 2007 @ 11:56pm

    This is why amazon sucks

    I have no idea why amazon has resorted to using these scams on it's own customers. I'd like to share my experience.

    This exact scam happened to me. I clicked on a link about free shipping (nothing mentioned Amazon Prime in the link), and then I got a screen telling me I was signed up for "Amazon Prime," which I later found out was an expensive service I would never have use for.

    The sneaky part is that they were going to charge me using my credit card information from a previous purchase. They didn't prompt for credit card information like most online purchases or even ask me if I wanted to use the credit card information they already stored.

    Luckily, I realized the scam for what it was and followed the complicated instructions for canceling it before I was charged. Then I contacted amazon demanding they close my account so they could never pull that sneaky trick again. They forever lost a previously happy customer that day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    anas hashmi, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 12:04am

    It's not as bad as you think.

    I signed up for Amazon prime and I forgot to cancel membership after 30 days. However, when i did cancel my membership for renewal, they refunded the money after having noticed I did not use the service.

    If you do not use the service, they will refund your money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    M Cooper, Oct 29th, 2007 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: M Cooper

    Fair enough Mike, but I believe you skipped over my (and what should have been your) main point:

    The customers complaining to you have no idea what they signed up for. They did not read the "fine print", they did not read the emails in their inbox, they did not even know who to call to complain - while using that very same email know enough only to complain to the first company who shows up in a Google search.

    These are the people who are behind the high APR on credit cards. These are the people who are behind the Sub-prime Mortgage meltdown. These are the people who should not be trusted with a credit card, and I guarantee probably cannot balance a checkbook.

    As others have pointed out, any consumer who has dealt with businesses more than a few times should learn to ask "what is the catch?" almost as a reflex.

    Kind of like how car commercials for cheap cars feature an announcer screaming at you "ONLY $99 DOLLARS PER MONTH!" and the car commercials for higher value cars feature a low, even, confident voice. The stupid people respond to big letters, loud advertising, and do not bother reading anything beyond that first impression.

    Maybe Amazon could reword it to be clear that you are enrolling in Prime and if you cancel within the first 30 days you aren't charged for it. But quite a few people do not find it difficult to understand the current setup - which is far more lenient than most other online trials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Jerry Straughan, Jun 4th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Cheating in the dark

    Amazon should be ashamed for trying to obtain money in such a devious manner from me. I will never do business with this horible, shady company again. I never really thought they were a illegitimate firm. Makes one wonder how many people they cheat this way and they never suspect anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Aug 18th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    Amazon

    If you call Amazon and tell them you don't want it, that it was an accident, full refund, no questions asked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    mary sornberger, Nov 23rd, 2008 @ 1:46pm

    angry with amazon in general

    We're all busy and hurry too through our tasks. It's the holiday ordering time, and I've spent many hours this trying to order 3 grandchildren their outfits dresses to shoes. I've used many sites in the process and the only one I made a mistake on was amazon's they put too much junk on their sites that have nothing to do with your order and who ends up making money on your mistake ofcourse amazon. They say you can change your order if is hasn't gone into shipping. I saw the mistake immediately and they wouldn't let me change my order. Talked to someone in the Philippines, put on hold 20 min, emailed them and the same answer sorry too late.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This