Cast your minds back to the Christmas rush of 2014. The claustrophobic shops filled with overfilled trollies and queues that reached the front door. Everybody is stressed and thinking about the things they haven’t managed to find. The shelves are emptying very quickly and what is left is either too expensive or just not what you were looking for.

Does this sound familiar?

When this situation comes to pass, what is the solution?


If you had something in mind specifically you could always shop online. But don’t forget the British weather that never fails to stretch the delivery time far enough to make you sweat.

But wait...

Amazon have a new ‘Prime Free Trial’ in which you can get your order the very next day. What an amazing thought! How on earth have they managed to pull such a thing off?

I decided to give it a try, like many at such a stressful time of the year.


I clicked the button and went through my payments as normal thinking my order would arrive earlier than it usually would and without a delivery charge! Fantastic!

How naive I was.

The package did not arrive the next day. However, as I thought such a thing would have been impossible given the time of year and the weather I wasn’t too frustrated. After all, the delivery was still free and managed to arrive before Christmas.

What did frustrate me was the seventy-nine pounds that disappeared from my account the next month!

Unfortunately I cannot say that this I theft, but it is a very cruel trick that Amazon have played. This is because if you clicked that ‘free trial’ button before making your order, you have unknowingly upgraded your Amazon membership to Amazon Prime and in doing so, have given them permission to charge you seventy-nine pounds at the beginning of each year.

There is no bill sent to your email or through your door. It is taken directly out of your account.

There is a way out of this. Amazon have provided customers with many ways of contacting them but if you would rather rectify this with as little hassle as possible, you can change your account status on the ‘cancel your Amazon prime membership’ link on the help page. This will lead you to a step by step guide of how to cancel your prime membership.


On the aforementioned page is this statement: ‘Note: Paid members who haven't used their Amazon Prime benefits, including the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, One Day Delivery and Prime Instant Video, will be eligible for a full refund.

As sneaky as Amazon have been in getting some of their customers to upgrade, it is a good thing that they are at least willing to cooperate with those who have realised their mistake. If you didn’t know you had upgraded, it is likely that you didn’t use what Amazon Prime had to offer.

Amazon have taken a very big risk in creating this secondary way of signing up to their latest offer.


Upon further research I found I was not the only one to accidentally agree to this upgrade. Many of Amazon’s customers have made their opinions known on Amazon’s discussion page as to how this has affected them.

“Unless they refund me the full amount I will be sure to not shop with them again (however inconvenient). It has changed my perceptions of Amazon completely. I don't even know what the service is and have never wittingly used it.”

“I was horrified this morning to find I had been charged £79 for unwittingly signing up to prime- - been a customer for several years and placed a lot of orders over Christmas this year I somewhat naively thought that the free deliveries where offers by the supplier and never for one moment thought I was actually paying through the nose!”

“Amazon you thieving b******s taken £79 out of my account. I had no idea I had such a thing. I got a card through my door which I threw away but somehow you have conned me into joining up unknowingly when I bought a 9.99 present over Christmas. This is a disgusting way to treat people and should be illegal. The only reason i found out was because I noticed my bank account was down. Thanks for the non-existent email telling me you was doing this!!”

“Just been charged £79.00 on my credit card bill for Amazon Prime, what a scam.”

“I bought a product off Amazon before Christmas and 'Amazon Prime' have taken £79 out of my account! How dare they!! I haven't even signed up for anything.”

It is possible that many online customers change which sites they shop on after such an experience which leads me to ask the question – was it worth it?

Personally, I would say no. The Amazon Prime upgrade would have been successful on its own. Watching films online is becoming more preferable to buying DVDs and many kindle customers would have taken advantage of borrowing books instead of buying them. The upgrade in its honest form is a good idea. However, in creating this hidden way of signing up, I am lead to believe that they didn’t have faith in their own idea.

From this all too true fable, we can take away one lesson to be learned and that it shoppers beware! If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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