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?