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How Amazon tricked me into a subscription, twice!

The subscription model is on the rise. Companies these days are trying very hard to lure customers into regular payments. Usually, this is done with a 30-day free-trial period. I think we have all been there. You want to try a service or product and you simply forget to cancel it after the trial period is over.

This happens. But who can claim that it happened to them twice with the same company?
Amazon managed to get me into a subscription twice which really made me think if it’s just plain foolishness on my side or if the company puts in some effort to add people to their list of subscribers.

Trick I

Having looked closer into this I came to the conclusion that their behaviour is quite sneaky. If you order on Amazon without having a Prime membership, Amazon offers you to add the Prime membership as it gives you free delivery. So far so good, however, they embed the yellow Prime membership button in a grey box which makes it very tricky to spot immediately as you can see in figure 1 below.
At a first glance it looks like “Order Now with Prime” gives a Prime membership while the text below “Continue with FREE Premium Delivery” doesn’t. In reality this is the same button and no matter if you click on “Order Now with Prime” or “Continue with FREE Premium Delivery” or “Pay later”, it all leads to a Prime membership. The only way to order regularly without getting into Prime is to click “Order without Prime. Decline free Premium Delivery.” which is to the left of this box and doesn’t necessarily look like something you immediately want to click on.

Figure 1: Amazon order screen

Now if you think that Amazon is setting up a little trap here then you are probably right. I ordered products, clicked on the box and didn’t realised I started a Prime membership.

If you think that’s already bad behaviour then you might want to take a look at the next screen. After clicking the “Order Now with Prime” box, Amazon lets you review the order. However, they also automatically start a Prime membership even if you end up going back and not buying the products. Now this is quite deceitful. I didn’t order my products but still ended up with a membership.

Figure 2: Membership started

This is how they got me the first time.

Trick II

The second time was a bit more unfortunate and I really cannot blame Amazon for that.
Very eager to watch some live sports on Amazon I signed up for a Eurosport Player subscription which I simply forgot to cancel. I realized only 10 months later that I would still pay for this subscription and had to fight very hard to get some of the money back despite not using this service.

This made me realise that I had very poor control over my bank account and the money which was taken on a regular basis. It also made me realise that there must be so many others out there experiencing the same problem. So I started with a mission to help anyone who is tricked into subscriptions without realising it and who finds it challenging to manage all subscriptions and regular payments on an ongoing basis.

Stop the Tricks

This was the start of Brevius, a free mobile app which helps you track subscriptions and recurring payments in one place to help you save money on subscriptions you don’t use or you are not even aware of. Sign up and let us hear your thoughts

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