‘Deceptive’ Amazon Prime Video Rate Hike Lands Them In Lawsuit

A California man has sued Amazon, alleging that the company’s move to run ads in all Prime Video programming was “deceptive.”

Wilbert Napoleon, who brought forth the lawsuit in the interest of all Amazon Prime customers, said they were led to believe by Amazon’s “false and misleading” advertisements that they would have “ad-free access to tv shows and movies,” according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington state on Feb. 9.

These “representations” made by the company led Napoleon and other customers “to purchase the service and to pay a price premium for the service,” referring to the additional monthly fee Amazon rolled out in January for those interested in an “ad-free experience.”

The change in terms, the lawsuit alleges, violates consumer protection laws in California and Washington which prohibits a company from engaging in “unfair” or “deceptive” business acts and practices.

The “false advertisements” made by the company has harmed consumers, depriving “them of the reasonable expectations to which they are entitled,” the lawsuit states.

“Instead of receiving a subscription that included ad-free streaming of tv shows and movies, they received something worth less. They cannot enjoy ad-free streaming unless they pay an extra $2.99/month.”

An Amazon spokesperson told USA TODAY Monday that they were “unable to comment on pending litigation.”

Why is Amazon being sued? 

Napoleon decided to sue Amazon for “failing to provide him with access to ad-free streaming of movies and tv shows for the duration of his subscription,” which he renewed in June of 2023 before Amazon implemented the $2.99 fee. 

He calls the move made by Amazon “unfair,” stating that they changed the deal. 

“For years, people purchased and renewed their Amazon Prime subscriptions believing that they would include ad-free streaming,” according to the complaint. 

The change impacted every Amazon customer, including those “who purchased the yearly, ad-free subscription, and who are now mid-way through their subscription.”

“These subscribers already paid for the ad-free version; these subscribers should not have to pay an additional $2.99/month for something that they already paid for,” according to the complaint. 

The conduct, as alleged is “immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, and substantially injurious to consumers.” 

Who could potentially benefit from the Amazon lawsuit?

The lawsuit, which currently seeks class-action status stands to benefit any customers that purchased an annual Amazon Prime subscription before Dec. 28, 2023. 

What does the lawsuit against Amazon seek? 

The best way for Amazon to make things right with their customers is by moving quickly to correct the “unlawful practices” that caused injury to all Amazon Prime customers, according to the complaint. 

Napoleon is seeking relief for himself and members of the proposed class in the form monetary compensation in addition to an injunction to put a stop to Amazon’s deceptive practices. The plaintiff has also demanded the “the right to a jury trial on all claims so triable.” 

“The representations were a substantial factor and proximate cause in causing damages and losses to plaintiff and the class members,” the complaint states. 

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