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Amazon must refund over 1,000 Iowans for unused memberships

computerDES MOINES – More than one thousand Iowa consumers charged for unused Amazon Prime memberships through online retailer Amazon.com will receive refunds or credits, under an agreement with Attorney General Tom Miller.

Amazon.com Inc. and Amazon Services LLC have agreed to provide $122,000 in refunds and credits to about 1,100 Amazon Prime members in Iowa whose unused memberships may indicate they did not know they had been enrolled.

Amazon Prime, with an annual $99 membership fee, offers members shipping discounts, streaming video, music content and electronic book downloads.

Free Shipping Promotion Led to Membership Charges
Amazon had promoted its Prime memberships by offering free two-day shipping to online purchasers, and customers who accepted the promotion were enrolled in Prime on a free-trial basis. Unless those customers canceled during the trial period, trial Prime memberships shifted to regular Prime memberships, with annual charges and automatic renewals.
“We commend Amazon for fully cooperating with our office in straightening this out,” Miller said. “To its credit, Amazon had taken steps to address the underlying problem even before we contacted the company with our concerns,” Miller added.

Agreement: Amazon to Provide Refunds to Eligible Consumers, Comply with Iowa Law
The agreement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, provides for refunds or credits to Iowa consumers who paid for memberships without using them.

The agreement also requires Amazon to comply with Iowa’s Buying Club Memberships law, which requires certain notices and disclosures designed to make the enrollment process clear to consumers.

“Once we contacted Amazon, the company worked with us in fixing the problem and in reimbursing Iowans who may have been charged without their knowledge and consent,” Miller said.

As part of the agreement, Amazon denies any wrongdoing or liability.

Amazon will contact Iowans who qualify for refunds or credits, so consumers do not need to contact the Consumer Protection Division or Amazon for a refund or credit.

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