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

Does this sound familiar?

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

Ifyou had something in mind specifically you could always shop online. But don’tforget the British weather that never fails to stretch the delivery time farenough to make you sweat.

But wait...

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

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

I clicked the button and went through my payments as normalthinking my order would arrive earlier than it usually would and without adelivery charge! Fantastic!

How naive I was.

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

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

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

There is nobill sent to your email or through your door. It is taken directly out of youraccount.

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

On the aforementioned page is this statement: ‘Note: Paidmembers who haven't used their Amazon Prime benefits, including the KindleOwners' Lending Library, One Day Delivery and Prime Instant Video, will beeligible for a full refund.

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

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

Upon further research I found I wasnot the only one to accidentally agree to this upgrade. Many of Amazon’s customershave made their opinions known on Amazon’s discussion page as to how this hasaffected them.

“Unless they refund me the full amount I will be sure to notshop with them again (however inconvenient). It has changed my perceptions ofAmazon completely. I don't even know what the service is and have neverwittingly used it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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