(WTTV/WXIN) — The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to make sure they are not being charged for an Amazon Prime subscription without giving permission.
In a lawsuit filed in late June, the FTC alleged that Amazon used “manipulative, coercive or deceptive user interface designs, known as ‘dark patterns’,” to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically renewing Prime subscriptions.
The lawsuit also claimed that, during the online checkout process, consumers were given several opportunities to subscribe to Amazon Prime.
In many cases, the option to buy something without a Prime subscription was more difficult to find. In some cases, the button to complete the transaction didn’t clearly state that the shopper was also agreeing to join Prime for a recurring subscription.
“Amazon tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement.
The FTC also said Amazon made it hard for people to cancel their subscriptions by making them jump through hoops and find the right place to cancel online, often bouncing customers from the website to customer service and back again.
To protect against this, the FTC advised consumers to watch what goes into their shopping carts. The commission said that even clearing the cart and leaving the site could still result in being enrolled in a subscription service.
The FTC said that people should look for pre-checked boxes that could potentially sign them up for an extra service and review an order before buying it just in case something unwanted got added. After that, the commission said to make sure to check that the order confirmation matches.