Don’t be ‘tricked’ by Amazon Prime
The online retailer is out to recruit you to its Prime service. We explain how to use it free for a month and avoid its full-service subscription
If you’ve ever bought anything on Amazon, you’ll be familiar with the endless tickboxes and pop-ups extolling the virtues of signing up to a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. Membership of Prime, which costs £79 a year, provides free one-day delivery on certain items, free access to Amazon’s video-streaming service, unlimited online storage and other benefits. This guarantees Amazon a lucrative market of ‘loyal’ customers, some of whom have been ‘tricked’ into signing up. Here we expose the methods used by Amazon to bring you into the Prime fold and how you can best avoid their traps.
That said, we actually think a free month of Prime is worth trying out, especially if you tend to buy a lot from the website. So we’ll also explain how to give it a go without signing up to to the full, paid-for service. And there’s no point in trying it without knowing how to access all the best bits, which is why we’ll reveal how to get the most from being an Amazon Prime member.
Beware Prime’s tickboxes
As soon as you sign in and try to add anything to your basket, you’ll see Amazon’s first effort to tempt you with Prime. This advert (see screenshot below left) cunningly hides the 30-day trial within an offer of ‘Free One-day Delivery’. Ticking the box will get you one-day delivery, but you’ll also be signed up for a 30-day Amazon Prime free trial that will automatically roll into a full year.
The dark arts of persuasion don’t end there. When you place an item in your basket, then click the Basket button to start the checkout process, you’ll be prompted to ‘Choose a delivery preference’. Again, you’ll see a tantalising ‘Free OneDay Delivery’ offer linked to a free trial (see screenshot below).
There’s still no mention of the subscription cost of Prime here, nor that you get free delivery on any order over £20 (or £10 if you’re buying books) whether you’re a Prime member or not.
The hard sell
Congratulations! At this point, you’ve successfully sidestepped two tempting offers to get ‘free’ next-day delivery, but now Amazon resorts to the hard sell. Enter your credit-card details and a browser-sized message fills the screen asking “Why pay for delivery?” before assuring you that you can “Save on this order when you try Prime”.
The advert contains a large yellow ‘Try Prime Free’ button, while the link to close the message without signing up is barely visible to the naked eye (see screenshot above). The wording on the link (‘Continue and don’t gain Amazon Prime benefits’) plants seeds of doubt and hints at missed opportunities. It’s clever, but sneaky.
At least the advert’s small print explains how much the company will charge you for Prime once your free trial runs out. It also makes it clear that you can stop Amazon automatically enrolling you into full membership at the end of the trial.
Watch out for pop-ups
Just when you thought you were safe, Amazon’s next ploy is to foist pop-up adverts on you (see screenshot below left), that once more tempt you with the promise of one-day delivery. Again there’s no mention that the trial will lead to a full paid-for membership, but you can quickly dismiss it by clicking the ‘No thanks’ button.
Stop Amazon auto-enrolling you into full membership
If you do decide to sign up for an Amazon Prime trial, the first thing you should do is make sure that Amazon can’t automatically move you on to the paid-for version at the end of the 30 days. To do this, move your cursor over Your Account (top right), click ‘Your Prime Membership’, then click End Membership.
Don’t worry, this won’t end your free trial. At the end of those 30 days your Prime membership will simply end. If you don’t click End Membership, Amazon will assume you want to continue with the service and will charge you for a full year’s subscription.
Amazon will tempt you into joining its Prime service with promises of free oneday delivery on your orders
Ignore adverts that pop up as you shop - click ‘No thanks’ to dismiss them
Beware Amazon’s hard sell and click this link to avoid signing up for Prime