Amazon Told its Prime Sign-Up Processes Are Way Too Shady

By Gary Cutlack on at

Amazon has been found guilty of something everyone in the entire country already suspected it of, with the UK's advertising watchdog finding that the retailer's thrilling collection of confusing yellow boxes promising free trials of Amazon Prime strayed too far into misleading territory.

This is the Advertising Standards Authority agreeing with what Which? said a few months ago, when it found cases of people who accidentally surrendered to Amazon's endless temptations to sign up for a Prime subscription; only for the retailer to immediately go quiet and never speak of it again once a box was clicked and agreement to take the money out of an account finalised. The specific complaint here concerned a box on the check-out page that promised free or faster delivery in return for signing up to Prime, with two options presented -- and both activating a Prime trial.

The ASA said Amazon's promissory yellow box offering yes-wow-amazing free options "was likely to mislead" and make users take trials that would lapse into full Prime subscriptions if not actively noticed and cancelled, tricking shoppers into a lifelong agreement to let Amazon take money as long as they never notice the direct debits chiseling away at the retirement funds and ask it to stop. [ASA]