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The FTC Is Suing Amazon For Allegedly Signing Up Customers For Prime Without Their Consent The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Wednesday for the "company's knowing failure to address non-consensual subscriptions and cancellation trickery."

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Nathan Stirk | Getty Images
The FTC claims Amazon enrolled users in Prime without their consent.

The Federal Trade Commission is suing e-commerce giant Amazon for allegedly enrolling customers in Amazon Prime without their consent and then "knowingly" complicating the cancellation process.

"Amazon used manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as 'dark patterns' to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically renewing Prime subscriptions," the complaint states.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday, Amazon used tactics wherein the option to purchase an item without subscribing to Prime was "more difficult to locate," and, in some cases, the button that enrolled users in Prime at checkout did not clearly indicate customers were agreeing to sign up for the service.

Related: Amazon Just Introduced a Major Overhaul That Will Make You Even 'More Likely to Buy' — But Your Search Results May Look Different

"Amazon tricked and trapped people into recurring subscriptions without their consent, not only frustrating users but also costing them significant money," said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan in a statement. "These manipulative tactics harm consumers and law-abiding businesses alike."

Additionally, the complaint alleges that Amazon "knowingly" made the cancellation process of Prime complicated and claims that company leadership rejected proposed changes to the system that would make cancellation easier "because those changes adversely affected Amazon's bottom line."

Last month, Amazon settled two complaints from the FTC regarding privacy violations surrounding the company's Ring and Alexa apps, costing the company nearly $31 million.

"The FTC's claims are false on the facts and the law," an Amazon spokesperson told Entrepreneur. "We also find it concerning that the FTC announced this lawsuit without notice to us. While the absence of that normal course engagement is extremely disappointing, we look forward to proving our case in court."

Related: Amazon Will Eliminate an Entertaining Service This Summer — But You Won't Get a Refund Unless You Request It

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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