How difficult was it to cancel your Amazon Prime membership? The online retailer required consumers who wanted to cancel its signature service to go on an epic journey through a sophisticated system dubbed the “Iliad Flow” in honor of Homer’s lengthy and difficult masterpiece until this past April.
The Federal Trade Commission filed a civil case against Amazon on Wednesday, alleging that in order to cancel their service, they had to go through a four-page, six-click, fifteen-option process. According to the complaint, a single click would have taken them back to square one.
The FTC pointed out that the multistep process was still in place despite the fact that new members in the United States with $14.99/month or $139/year Prime accounts simply needed one or two clicks. Subscribers could do so from any device; however, cancellation had to be done by computer, mobile phone, or customer service.
According to the FTC lawsuit, Amazon tricked millions of unsuspecting customers into signing up for Prime and then repeatedly charged them without permission.
Amazon has stated that the accusations are baseless and that the case contains numerous factual and legal inaccuracies. It promises to take on the FTC in court. According to court documents filed by the FTC, Amazon developed the intricate “Iliad Flow” departure strategy in 2016 and left it in place until April of this year, when it learned the agency was planning to launch a case over the practice.
Within that time frame, Amazon’s global Prime membership increased from 50 million to over 200 million. Annually, the program generates about $25 billion in revenue for Amazon.
According to the complaint, it is extremely difficult for a client to truly terminate their membership.
Subscribers had a difficult time locating the “Iliad Flow,” according to the FTC lawsuit. Prime Membership was the eleventh option in the third column when the customer selected the “accounts and list” submenu.
That would take the shopper straight to the Prime Central signup page. First, one must go to the membership page and select the “manage membership” button to bring up the menu of available actions, among which is a “end membership” option. Of course, that was just the start.
In order to begin the “Iliad Flow” process, the consumer must first click the “end membership” button. After that, canceling the membership involves navigating three additional pages, each of which contains a plethora of options.
Customers were prompted to “take a look back at [their] journey with Prime” on the very first page, which featured a highlight reel of the various Prime features they had utilized over the years. Links on the page said, “Start shopping today’s deals!” and promoted a variety of Prime services. as well as “Start watching videos right now!” or “Get listening right away.”
When a subscriber makes a mistake, they are taken out of the “Iliad Flow.”
If the subscriber scrolled all the way down, they would reach a “continue to cancel” button. To Page 2 they would go if they did that.
The FTC claims that page would offer the user a variety of price cuts, such as going from monthly to annual payments, getting a student discount, or qualifying for a low-income discount. On the same page where you could cancel your Prime membership, there were warning symbols and links that read, “Cancelling your membership will affect items associated with your Prime membership” and “By canceling, you will no longer be eligible for your unclaimed Prime exclusive offers.”
If a subscriber were to click on any of those, they would be taken out of the current “Iliad Flow.”