FTC sues Amazon for deceiving consumers with 'dark patterns' to register as prime members

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Amazon, saying that Amazon intentionally tricked millions of consumers into signing up for Amazon Prime and made it difficult to cancel with a complicated process.

FTC Takes Action Against Amazon for Enrolling Consumers in Amazon Prime Without Consent and Sabotaging Their Attempts to Cancel | Federal Trade Commission


FTC sues Amazon over 'deceptive' Prime sign-up and cancellation process


The FTC accuses Amazon of using so-called 'dark patterns,' 'designs that direct users to certain choices,' to trick consumers into subscribing to Amazon Prime without their consent, according to the FTC. Alleging that it violated the law.

According to the FTC, there are many opportunities for consumers to unintentionally subscribe to Amazon Prime during the product purchase process on Amazon, making it difficult for consumers to find options to purchase products without Amazon Prime. It seems that it has become a thing.

According to scrum-treats, who shared information on the social site Hacker News, when purchasing a product on Amazon, the option to 'subscribe to Amazon Prime and purchase' was displayed in a large size. ``Without Prime'' displayed next to it seems to indicate the option ``Purchase without Amazon Prime'', but this option cannot be clicked, and is displayed small in the lower left of the image. No thanks' was the only option to refuse Amazon Prime. Furthermore, it seems that this option was confused because it did not change to a 'clickable' icon even if the cursor was moved.

Earlier reports said that internal documents were leaked showing that Amazon intentionally complicated the process of canceling Amazon Prime. According to this report, Amazon has implemented a project to complicate the cancellation procedure called 'Iliad', and as a result succeeded in reducing the cancellation rate of Amazon Prime by 14%.

A leak of internal documents revealed that Amazon Prime's cancellation procedure was intentionally complicated, and the cancellation rate dropped by 14% - GIGAZINE

The FTC also sees this method as a problem, saying, ``Amazon first makes it difficult for consumers to find the cancellation procedure, and even if they find it, they can continue the subscription at a discounted price, turn off the automatic renewal function, or cancel the cancellation. It was redirecting to multiple pages that offered options such as giving up.It was only after going through multiple pages that the consumer was finally able to cancel the service.'

'Amazon not only frustrated users, but caused them great harm by tricking users into subscribing without their consent,' FTC Chairman Rina Kern said in a statement. Methods hurt consumers and other law-abiding businesses, and the FTC remains strong in protecting Americans from dark patterns and other unfair practices in digital markets. ' said.

In response to the lawsuit, Amazon said through a spokesperson, ``The FTC's allegations are false. We are always listening to consumer feedback and looking for ways to improve the consumer experience. We look forward to finding out,' he said in a statement.

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