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Amazon has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission over what the US regulatory agency has described as “years-long” fraud at its flagship subscription service.
The tech giant “conducted years of efforts to enroll consumers into the Prime program without their consent, making it difficult for consumers to cancel their Prime subscriptions,” the FTC said in a press release. (Read the full complaint here.)
The company used deceptive schemes known as “dark patterns,” the FTC charges, aimed at tricking consumers into automatically renewing their Prime subscription plans.
Amazon reports selecting data for Prime, which offers benefits including video programming, faster package delivery and discounts on Whole Foods purchases. In the year In 2021, current CEO Jeff Bezos (b.
The FTC has taken a tough line against tech companies during President Biden’s administration. Lena M. Kahn, the agency’s chairwoman, who takes over the role in 2021, has focused on imposing restrictions on tech firms and fending off a backlash from free-market Republicans.
“Amazon has not only frustrated users by tricking and trapping people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, but also costing them a lot of money,” Khan said in a press release. “These scams hurt consumers and law-abiding businesses. The FTC will continue to vigorously protect Americans from “dark patterns” and other unfair or deceptive practices in digital markets.
Amazon did not immediately respond to the request.