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Amazon ‘misled’ people into signing up for Prime, says UK ad watchdog

Amazon has earned a rebuke from the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) in the UK over a misleading promotion that could have tricked people into signing up for Amazon Prime.

The ASA received complaints over a check-out page informing users Amazon was “…giving you a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime! Starting with this order.”

The page, which shoppers were shown in May/June 2019, featured a gold box prompting them to “Order Now with Prime” above a grey box which invited them to “Continue with a 30-day free trial. Pay later.”

Related: How to cancel Amazon Prime

The issue appears to be with the impression that these were two options, when they really link through to exactly the same thing. To confound things, the ‘Continue without Prime’ is a simple, less visible text link.

In a post on its website, the ASA said the complainants “believed the presentation of the options was unclear, challenged whether the ad was misleading.” It’s better illustrated in the tweet below (via Engadget).

In its assessment, the ASA said Amazon had broken code pertaining to misleading advertising and qualification.

The post reads: “The information provided by Amazon [in its defence] did not demonstrate that the average consumer was not likely to be misled by the presentation of the options. Because we considered that the average consumer was likely to view the text within the grey and gold boxes as the only two options available, with the ‘option’ in the grey box allowing them to continue without signing up to Prime, when that was not the case, we concluded that the presentation of the options was likely to mislead.”

Moving forward, the ASA has told Amazon the checkout process shouldn’t appear in the form complained of. The Agency has warned the company it must state the options for signing up for Prime or continuing without doing so clearly and prominently.

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