Amazon, one of the largest internet based retailers, is under attack by hundreds of its customers. The company, which began by selling books but has expanded into a whole range of products, offers the Amazon Prime service, where customers can enjoy free delivery on items bought via the website, as well as a newly introduced video on demand service.
The payment for the service, which used to cost £49 a year but is now £79 after the instant video service was introduced when Amazon purchased the company Lovefilm, is taken annually from customer’s bank accounts.
Amazon promoted its Prime service in 2012, offering a 30 day free trial. Many customers didn’t realise that once the trial was over, their accounts would be charged. They were also not informed when the price was raised from £49 to £79.
When famed food critic Giles Coren realised this after seeing an article in the newspaper, he launched a tirade against the retailer, encouraging his 164,000 Twitter followers to join him. Many customers realised that they had been charged without their knowledge and complained to the company.
Amazon responded by stating that customers who sign up for the Prime service receive a follow-up email each year when their payment is taken, but many customers still feel as though they have been ripped off. Amazon also offers to refund the full cost of the Prime membership if the customers have not made use of its benefits or made any eligible purchases, but for many people who took advantage of the free delivery, they may not have realised the annual cost until it was too late.