The FTC is suing Amazon for tricking customers into signing up for Prime

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon for enrolling customers in the Prime program without their consent and for making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions.

In its complaint filed Wednesday, the FTC accuses Amazon of “deliberately” tricking millions of customers into subscribing to Amazon Prime through the use of “dark patterns.” Specifically, the FTC describes how Amazon’s checkout process will allegedly give customers multiple options to subscribe to Prime, making it difficult to find the option to complete a purchase. The commission also alleges that Amazon required customers to go through several unnecessary steps before they could unsubscribe from the program.

“Amazon deceived and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money,” FTC Chairman Lina Khan said in a statement Wednesday. ‚ÄúThese manipulative tactics harm both consumers and law-abiding businesses.

Much of Wednesday’s complaint remains redacted, but the FTC said it described several opportunities Amazon had to prevent these allegedly forced filings, but chose not to make the changes.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Before being confirmed to the FTC, Khan rose to prominence after writing a 2017 article called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” She later served on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, playing a major role in investigating Amazon and other tech giants regarding anticompetitive behavior.

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