FTC: Amazon tricked users into signing up for Prime and made it too hard to cancel

The Federal Trade Commission formally accuses Amazon of tricking users into signing up for expensive recurring subscriptions and intentionally making it harder to cancel them. The development of user interface "dark patterns" to confuse users was so extensive that Amazon called it "Project Iliad."

"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 press release. "These manipulative tactics harm consumers and law-abiding businesses alike. The FTC will continue to vigorously protect Americans from 'dark patterns' and other unfair or deceptive practices in digital markets."

According to the FTC's complaint, Amazon executives made a conscious choice to create these problems and ignored potential fixes that would help consumers. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Short-term thinking, the sort of wild behavior we associate with rowdy post-pandemic air travel, is happening at all levels! People are thinking "screw it, I'll see what I can get away with" and in America corporations are people too, my friend.