E-commerce giant, Amazon has come under fire for using ‘manipulative’ tactics to get users into signing up for its prime services. Internal documents cited by a section of the media show that Amazon has been aware of this, but failed to do anything about it.
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The United States Federal Trades Commission is investigating Amazon’s User Experience (UX) model following reports from consumers who say they felt they were tricked into Prime subscription.
The UX design under scrutiny may be sound familiar; by merely clicking ‘Get Free Two Day Delivery with Prime’, users get sucked into 30-day free trial which they forget to cancel, leads to a monthly fee of £5.99. This is not the first time the company is being accused of this; it has been sued severally in the past over similar claims.
Insider reports citing an Amazon internal document which alludes to how the process to cancel the subscription was deliberately designed to be difficult to navigate. The news outlet claims this was under a project dubbed ‘Iliad’ and that cancellations dropped by 14 percent in 2017 shortly after it was enforced.
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‘Simple and transparent’
When news outlet Gizmodo reached out to Amazon’s Prime VP, Jamil Ghani, he defended their subscription design model. Describing it as ‘simple and transparent’, Ghani said:
Customer transparency and trust are top priorities for us. By design we make it clear and simple for customers to both sign up for or cancel their Prime membership. We continually listen to our customer feedback and look for ways to improve the customer experience.
It is unclear what the status of the FTC’s investigation into Amazon’s subscription practices is, Insider reports.