According to a report from Wednesday, March 16, internal documents gathered revealed Amazon’s new project “Iliad.” The tech giant reportedly effectively planned to draw out cancellations of Prime memberships under this project.
This project made of a multi-layered series of questions for the users, included new offers before the customer could successfully cancel their subscription. Amazon designed this set of questions and offers in hopes of bringing down the number of exits. Following the introduction of this system, cancellations on the platform saw a drop of 14% at a juncture in 2017. The documents disclosed how fewer members navigating to the final page of cancellation led to the drop.
This cancellation process which is designed with multiple layers still remains active now, though in another version. However, this is only one instance describing Amazon’s use of subtle UX design choices. The tech giant uses it mainly with the agenda to complicate the cancellation and subscription processes of its Prime service.
Not so long ago, various complaints have been filed directing towards an investigation with Prime’s cancellation process. They were filed with the FTC asking them to look into processes involved in Amazon Prime’s memberships. Many accused the the giant of making use of what they called “dark patterns.”
“Throughout the process, Amazon manipulates users through wording and graphic design, making the process needlessly difficult and frustrating to understand,” The Norwegian Consumer Council alleged in January 2021.
However, an Amazon spokesperson denied the accusations in a statement through an email sent by them. They assured that the called process of their service is “simple and transparent” and openly shows customers the choices and results of their decisions.
The Vice President of Amazon Prime, Jamil Ghani considered “transparency” to the customers and gaining their “trust” the company’s many “priority.” They have designed it in a way that it appears clear for the users to both subscribe and cancel their subscriptions. He even claimed that Amazon pays heed to feedback from customers and works towards improving their experiences.
Currently, the cancellation process of Amazon Prime’s membership consists of multiple clicks, along with many decisions and series of confirmations. The ultimate “end membership” option is available under the tab specifying “manage membership.” The first prompt on the page has the description “don’t give up on movie night.” Subsequently, it navigates to showing the customer how many days are left until the next billing cycle.
The following prompt informs users about how much money they could save by changing their monthly plan to an annual payment one. Amazon’s annual membership fee for Prime had increased to $139 from $199 from February 18. Similarly, the monthly charges saw an increase to $14.99 from $12.99.