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Amazon can fuck off

My oldest recorded purchase from Amazon was 18 years ago; so I have been buying from them for a long time. It used to be books, but in the last year or so it has been Kindle eBooks. An exception was made earlier this year when I purchased the Brian Bilston book for The Son. I chose the free “following day delivery” and the book duly arrived on his doorstep the next day. Another smooth transaction.

Today I was browsing the shambles that is my credit card bill and I noticed a charge from Amazon for 79 of her Majesty’s pounds. What impetuous, already forgotten purchase was this? After some rummaging around various places I discovered I had paid for a year’s subscription to Amazon Prime, a service that is of bugger all interest to someone living in Thailand. How could this be?

Based on the experiences of many, many other pissed off customers; it transpires that if you choose the following day delivery option, you are automatically given a free month’s trial of Amazon Prime. Checking back through my emails I did find a mail welcoming me to my free trial. As it was nestled within a barrage of mails from Amazon around that day (thanks for your order!, your order has shipped!, people who bought this book also bought!, have you considered? etc. etc.) I may not even have noticed it, and if I had; well, free trial, what’s the harm?

The harm, gentle reader, is tucked away in small print at the end of the free trial email. “At the end of the trial month, if you haven’t explicitly cancelled, you will be automatically charged 79 pounds for a year’s subscription because we have your credit card on file and maybe you won’t notice. Sucker.” I paraphrase.

As I haven’t used the service I never asked for and didn’t even know I had, I can cancel and get my money back, eventually. But I needed that 79 pounds for food, so now what am I going to do?


This Post Has 13 Comments
  1. Call them (if you are able from Thailand) and do your best not to lose your temper. I know it’s difficult, I had to restrain myself when I had a problem I’m also a long time customer and had a problem with a Kindle that had just gone out of warranty. The initial representative wasn’t cooperative, but when I suggested she look up my purchase history and told her that I was never going to shop with them she spoke with her supervisor and ultimately honored my request.

  2. A couple of quick thoughts for you.

    Firstly, if you have not already tried it, you might want to take a look at Calibre

    It’s an eBook management system that can integrate with say a Windows or Mac copy of the Kindle App and allows you to convert files between a range of different formats. This can actually be quite handy if, for example, you want to load your Olympus EM-1 Mk 2 User Guide pdf into your Kindle Reader. You do this via email [the address to send the file to is in your Amazon account settings] and you can convert non-Kindle files to Kindle format. You can also convert Kindle files to non-Kindle format. Ahem.

    Second, in terms of dealing with Amazon… They have a ruthlessly simple way of dealing with clients these days: when you contact them with an issue, they look at how profitable you are as a customer and make their decisions on that basis. If you have a track record of issues or returns or asking for money back, then they will, at some point, refuse to help you. However, if you are a good customer, they will often go further than their on-line documentation would lead you to expect.

    The classic scam of “if you don’t explicitly cancel we will start charging you…” never gets old, does it? A few years ago now I had something like that happen to me, but I dug into UK law and found an exit route that ultimately lead to a full refund. Less clear if this would work with you being based in Pattaya, however… As Loren says, if they want your continued business, they will usually roll over for you…

    1. I did play with Calibre a while ago, but prefer to just buy the books to compensate the author, and things like manuals reside on my iPad using Goodreader. Thanks anyway.

  3. As far as I am aware this scam has been legally banned in the NLs (maybe in the EU). But well in the end it will safe you a lot of money what then again can be spend on cameras.

  4. I’ve been caught that way too. Clicked the wrong option on my tablet. I realised what I’d done straight away and cancelled the automatic-sign-up-in-a-month part, but no can cancel the month’s free trial. OK, it’s free, but it’s is annoying because I had been planning to use the free trial at some future date when it would actually be useful. Right now it’s just wasted.

  5. £79 for food? I thought you could feast like a king for a year on quid in Pattaya, the reason you’re there (as it’s not for the sex)?

  6. Sadly same happens on numerous websites these days … try our Premium Membership … but first we need your credit card details . F*ckers

    1. Sorry about your typo, I believe the word you were intending was “fuckers”. (Pattaya Days is an equal opportunity expletives website).
      You are correct, but at least you get some warning with the other sites. Amazon has your credit card on file so doesn’t need to trigger a warning by asking for your card. B*astards.

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