retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that "consumer rights groups in Europe and the United States are now urging regulators to take action against Amazon" over a Prime feature that warns people who want to opt out of membership that "cancellation will mean losing 'exclusive benefits'."  The system also offer prompts in case people want to change their minds.

According to the story, "A Norwegian consumer rights group on Thursday filed a legal complaint with that country’s regulators accusing Amazon of engaging in unfair commercial practices with the Prime cancellation design, the latest move in a broader push to make tech companies more accountable to users … The move was welcomed Thursday by consumer rights advocates in Europe, some of whom said they had filed their own complaints, and in the United States."

The Times writes that "in the United States, Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer group, said it had written to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate whether the cancellation policy violated the Federal Trade Commission Act … Consumer rights advocates said that the technique employed by Amazon exemplifies the 'dark patterns' used on websites and apps to encourage people to do things they would not otherwise do. Tech companies like Amazon, they said, held immense sway over consumers."

Amazon has responded to the criticisms by saying it makes "it easy for customers to leave whenever they choose to,” though it does acknowledge that the process “gives a full view of the benefits and services members are canceling."

KC's View:

Maybe I'm crazy, but it strikes me as being responsible for Amazon to inform consumers what they'll lose access to if they cancel their Prime membership.

I went on Amazon yesterday because I was curious how hard it would be to find the "cancel account" button.  It took me about five seconds, and quickly took me to this screen:

To be honest, I didn't go any farther because I didn't want to run the risk of losing my membership.  But it didn't seem all that hard to me.

This may just be a matter of Amazon increasingly becoming a target because of its influence and ubiquity.  This does not sound like a big deal to me.