MSE News: Amazon Prime 'free trial' ad banned

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An offer of a "free trial" of Amazon's Prime delivery service has been banned by the ASA ...
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Amazon Prime 'free trial' ad banned

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  • tomtontomtomtontom
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    Small text at the bottom of the letter said: "Paid subscription starts automatically after free trial unless cancelled."But six people complained that the ad was not sufficiently clear that a paid subscription would start automatically if not cancelled during the trial and did not state the cost of the subscription.

    Six people who can't be bothered to read the letter properly but can find the time to complain to the ASA. Wow, just wow.
  • gpb156gpb156 Forumite
    2 Posts
    Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Used this to watch series of Ripper Street. You can set an email reminder so you are informed when trial is ending. It is quite easy to cancel I think that is quite a responsible approach to make sure you don't actually unknowingly subscribe. My 80 year old father accidentally subscribed when making a purchase not realising that you pay for prime delivery. When we discovered this mistake Amazon quickly cancelled the subscription and he only paid pro rata for one month.
    So just be careful!
  • Small text at the bottom of the letter said: "Paid subscription starts automatically after free trial unless cancelled."

    But six people complained that the ad was not sufficiently clear that a paid subscription would start automatically if not cancelled during the trial ...

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  • PincherPincher
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    How many generations has it been since we started having free trial subscriptions that is impossible to cancel?


    We should do a time capsule with all the magazines that has been trying it on, along with associated complaints. In a thousand years, see what has changed.
  • smeethsmeeth Forumite
    578 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Posts
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    I had the same sort of thing with Ocado. Told I could get a year free midweek delivery pass... only after signing up did I get very small print that it would auto-renew in a year at £70.

    At the same time, at least Amazon did put it in the small print, your fault if you didn't read it?
    Anchor yourself to the foundations of everything you love.

    Thank you to all those who post competitions!:beer:
  • MrWillyWonkaMrWillyWonka Forumite
    286 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary Combo Breaker Debt-free and Proud!
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    I received a letter from Amazon today and opened it up before I read the article. I couldn't remember seeing the small print anywhere and looked again and still couldn't see it. As it turned out the small print is on the back of the letter in pale grey font. The clever thing is, as its longer than A4 and folded back towards itself, a lot of people including myself would read the back with the t&c folded away. It sly and I think the ASA is correct in their ruling due to the layout of the letter even though it is common sense that the trial will not stop unless you cancel.
  • OblivionOblivion Forumite
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    As a regular buyer from Amazon what annoys me is the cynical way their website has been redesigned to make it all too easy to inadvertently click on a button to sign up for Prime. It's like tip-toeing through broken glass to get to the checkout now without committing yourself.
    ... Dave
    Happily retired and enjoying my 14th year of leisure
    I am cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
    Bring me sunshine in your smile
  • OblivionOblivion Forumite
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    tomtontom wrote: »
    Six people who can't be bothered to read the letter properly but can find the time to complain to the ASA. Wow, just wow.


    Small text at the bottom of the letter said: "Paid subscription starts automatically after free trial unless cancelled."But six people complained that the ad was not sufficiently clear that a paid subscription would start automatically if not cancelled during the trial and did not state the cost of the subscription.


    I think the whole concept of starting a paid subscription automatically after the trial period if not cancelled is fundamentally wrong. This removes too much control from the consumer.

    The legitimate way to operate this offer would to send an email to customers at the end of the trial asking them if they wish to continue at the specified fee and removing them from the deal if they say no.
    ... Dave
    Happily retired and enjoying my 14th year of leisure
    I am cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.
    Bring me sunshine in your smile
  • bowlhead99bowlhead99 Forumite
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    Oblivion wrote: »
    The legitimate way to operate this offer would to send an email to customers at the end of the trial asking them if they wish to continue at the specified fee and removing them from the deal if they say no.
    They would not be able to offer so many free trials if they did that, because fewer trials would convert to sales. The free trials all have a cost.

    So, the very existence of the '30 day free trials for all' is only possible because they expect a certain number of sign-ups to occur regardless of suitability of the service for the individual.
  • davethorpdavethorp Forumite
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    How much handholding do people need? What did the complainants think would happen at the end of the trial? That amazon would say "thanks a bunch for trialling the service. We hope you liked it. We've now reverted you amazon account to a normal non prime one. Have a nice day"

    Magazines that offer 5 issues for £5 or the like as a trial before charging you full price will be next to incur the wrath of the ASA. Or microsoft who offer a free trial of their Office 365 service. Or netflix. Or spotify. I could go on........
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