An independent contractor wearing a protective mask and gloves loads Amazon Prime grocery bags into a car outside a Whole Foods Market
Source: Tasting Table

Whole Foods shoppers sue Amazon after the end of free delivery for Prime members
Amazon could be facing two legal challenges from Whole Foods shoppers in California

A delivery executive picking Amazon grocery
Two shoppers sue Amazon after end of free delivery from Whole Foods for Prime members.
Source: The Seattle Times Inc could face two legal challenges from California shoppers claiming that the retail giant misled them. Moreover, claiming that it violated state law following end of free delivery for ones with Prime membership.

Separately, two groups of shoppers filed proposed class action lawsuits against the retail giant in May and June. Reportedly, one alleged that Amazon violated the contract by ending a Prime membership benefit  without decreasing the subscription fee or giving a refund. Additionally, the other argued that the retail giant had hidden extra charges with intention to ‘bamboozle’ customers.

In October last year, Amazon put an end to the offer of free deliveries for Prime members on orders above $35 from Whole Foods. The lawsuit describes this as the company pulling ‘the rug out of from its customers.’ From this juncture, a large number of shoppers had to pay for an ‘unfairly terminated’ service.

Since its acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, Amazon stated that from then the store would expand access to high quality products at reasonable prices to customers. Particularly, it stated that Prime members would get ‘special savings and in-store benefits.’ In February 2018, the retail giant first announced it offering free two-hour deliver for Prime members on grocery orders above $35.

At the time, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey said the two companies “have already lowered prices on many items, and this offering makes Prime customers’ lives even easier.”

However, the same month Amazon increased its Prime membership charges to $119 from $99 per year, for the first time since 2014. In September last year, Amazon informed shoppers about the end of free delivery for Prime, with the addition of a $9.95 service fee for all grocery orders. At the time of the lawsuits, the membership increased to $139 annually, or $14.99 from $12.99 monthly.

Last month, two Prime member customers from California sued the company in a federal district court of Seattle. Allegedly, Amazon violated the Consumer Protection Act when it ended the free delivery offer. Clearly, this particular service was a key benefit of the Prime membership. Amazon stopped the offering following the increase in the membership fee. However, neither did it offer members a refund or a way to cancel their subscriptions. The lawsuit stated how Amazon had taken part in ‘unfair business practices.’

On Tuesday, June 7, another Californian Prime Member sued Amazon separately alleging that it tacks on a ‘hidden delivery fee.’ This lawsuit alleges that it comes as shoppers move through the check out process on the app, specifying the $9.95 service. Moreover, it also adds on a $5 tip, though optional, but the text specifying so is rather small and hard to detect.

Both the lawsuits were filed in Western Washington’s US District Court and could possibly include thousands of shoppers with a Prime membership.