Have you ever had Amazon charge you for an Amazon Prime membership that you didn't apply for or give permission to bill you for? You are not alone! Many people have been billed for Prime without giving Amazon permission to do so.
We’ve looked into the matter to determine why so many people are experiencing the same problem and here we'll share what we found with you.
For those who are not familiar with Amazon Prime Membership, we’ll start by sharing some information regarding exactly what it offers. Then we will discuss the reasons you were billed for Prime without knowing.
- The Main Benefits of an Amazon Prime Membership
- Unauthorized Subscription Charges
- Forgetting to Cancel the Prime Free Trial
- How to Cancel Your Prime Membership via the Amazon Online Page
- Canceling after the Trial Period has Ended
- How to Dispute a Refund Offer for an Amazon Prime Charge
The Main Benefits of an Amazon Prime Membership
The paid subscription service of Amazon Prime is an annual fee of $119. Prime Members receive a wide variety of benefits on the shipping of products, shopping on Amazon, and entertainment streaming options.
In fact, the free two-day shipping is the best-known perk. It is convenient and applies to anything you order. For selected items, there is also a free same-day shipping service.
Prime members can also schedule a specific day to receive all the ordered products on the same day. In select cities, thousands of everyday household items and groceries can be delivered to Prime Members in less than two hours.
As a Prime Member you also get shopping perks, including access to over 1 million deals offered every summer on Amazon Prime Day.
As a Prime member, you can stream movies and TV shows and listen to more than 2 million songs ad-free. A popular perk amongst gamers, the Prime membership entitles you to enjoy free games and free add-on content to games.
If you are an avid reader, you’d be happy to know that you have free access to selected Kindle books and can choose up to 10 titles of free books at any time
As a Prime member you can save and share unlimited photos across devices. The best part is you get a whopping 5GB of storage for your videos and files.
Unauthorized Subscription Charges
While there are several tempting perks of Amazon Prime, market researchers believe that between 25% and 30% of Amazon Prime members became members without planning to, or even wanting to, subscribe.
This is not only due to unauthorized subscriptions. Often times individuals end up unknowingly subscribing for the membership through misleading purchase options.
Another instance where users are billed for Prime membership is after trying out the Prime free trial and forgetting to cancel it when it expires.
Whether Amazon is deliberately trying to trick Amazon users into joining Amazon Prime is something lawyers are debating about. Some believe that Amazon is taking advantage of the fact that few people read contracts before clicking “Accept” to make an easy buck, while others say that it is a good business practice to try and get as many paying members as possible.
Unknowingly Subscribed for Prime Membership
You can unknowingly subscribe for Prime when you purchase something on the Amazon website or app. It is Amazon’s general practice to let the client know when an order is ready. The purchaser receives a message from Amazon enquiring how the item is to be delivered.
As the purchaser, you have to tick a box on the online message to indicate your choice. The option for “Fast Priority Delivery” is always very prominent and, as purchasers generally need their products as soon as possible, most people prefer that option.
To activate the fast delivery you have to select “Unlimited Expedited with Amazon Prime.” When the purchaser clicks on this, he or she is automatically subscribed to Amazon Prime but in most cases only realizes it when billed for the subscription.
Forgetting to Cancel the Prime Free Trial
Sometimes Amazon sends you a message or advertises on their website that you can get a 30-day free trial of the Prime membership. Many people accept the invitation without realizing they will be auto-registered and billed at the end of the free trial.
The month passes and the next time they are reminded of the free trial is when they receive the subscription bill. One of the terms and conditions states that if you don’t cancel after the trial period, the subscription automatically begins.
People who have used the perks successfully during the trial period are normally not the people who complain.
However, if you’ve subscribed to the trial and never used it or are not satisfied with the benefits, you will surely not be pleased to be auto-registered and on the hook for the membership fee.
How to Cancel Your Prime Membership via Your Amazon Account
If you are not prepared to carry on with the subscription, cancel your current subscription immediately. If you don’t cancel it immediately, Amazon will subscribe you automatically for the next period.
In order to cancel your membership, you have to log in to your Amazon account. Hover over your name to get the options under “Account.” All you have to do is click on “Account Settings” and then "Prime".
This takes you to Amazon Prime where you then choose “Manage Prime Membership” and then select “End Membership.” Ensure that you click on “Confirm” as well if the option is prompted. If you don’t confirm, the application to end your membership will not be processed.
How to Cancel Your Prime Membership via the Amazon Online Page
To end your Prime Membership, you can also go to Amazon’s “End your Amazon Prime Membership“ page. When you then click on “End Membership” Amazon will refund the whole subscription amount for the current period. The reimbursement will take place in three to five days.
To be eligible for this refund, no membership benefits should have been used. Amazon also undertakes that no other subscriptions will be renewed once the Prime Membership has ended.
Click the “Confirm” button to end the action. If you don’t confirm the membership will not be ended.
Whether you’ve cancelled your membership via your Amazon account or via the online page, check your bank account regularly to ensure that no new charges are deducted and that the Prime subscription has indeed been stopped.
Cancel Prime Membership During the Trial Period
If you are still in the 30-day free trial period and you don’t want to carry on with the Prime Membership, you can cancel your subscription and still utilize the benefits until the end of the trial period.
By doing this, you have the peace of mind that you will not be billed for an ongoing subscription at the end of the trial and don't have to worry about keeping track of when the 30 days end.
Canceling after the Trial Period has Ended
If you cancel after the trial period has expired, you will have to pay the subscription fee for the next billing period. Your membership will end when the new billing period starts.
Because of this, it is good practice to decide early during the trial period to cancel if you want to.
If you cancel your auto-registered membership after paying for the first billing cycle, you will get to use Prime for the remainder of the year and it will terminate before charging another billing cycle.
Getting a Refund for an Unwanted Prime Membership
You can cancel future subscriptions rather easily without too much hassle, but the question is whether you will be refunded for the subscription you were billed that you didn't want.
To apply for a refund it is best to talk to an Amazon representative. You can contact a representative by phone via their hotline or website. When you use the website, search for the option to speak to a representative. When you have a representative online, tell the whole story and explain that you didn't realize that you subscribed to Amazon Prime Membership.
If they accept your explanation, they will assist you in providing a refund. Sometimes it will not be possible to get a full refund and then you can decide whether you want to accept the arrangement or dispute the refund amount offered.
How to Dispute a Refund Offer for an Amazon Prime Charge
If you want to dispute the amount offered by Amazon you can go to “Your Account Activity” and sign in. Find the subscription charge transaction and click “Details.”
Give all the appropriate information and clearly outline the situation. Amazon will look into the matter again and come back to you with a decision in about 45 days.
Amazon’s view is that if an incorrect subscription charge was unintentional and resulted from a bona fide error, their liability is limited to actual damages (the amount paid for Prime Membership) proved by you.
It is within your rights to sue them, but if Amazon can provide evidence that you have in some way subscribed to the Prime program, you will not have a case.
A class-action lawsuit might be successful if it can be proved that Amazon has deliberately taken steps to “trick” people into joining the program.
But in the end, what will be your financial gain? Remember the subscription amount you can sue for is “only” $119.
When you are charged by Amazon for Prime membership and you can’t remember consenting to being charged for it, ensure that you have not unknowingly subscribed or have forgotten to cancel your 30-day free trial.
If you realize you have been billed, contact Amazon immediately and explain your dilemma. The Amazon representatives will do their best to assist you and you could get a full refund.