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ELL Blog

Amazon Audible Is Unethical

Today I realized I was being charged US$15/month for a whole year by Amazon Audible. The reason? A free trial cancellation that did not go through fully. You see, to cancel amazon audible, you need to go to your account, then the membership, then click cancel. Then you have to give a reason for cancelling. Then you are taken to a page that simply says “We’d love to make Audible work for you” and is blank. Since there is no cancel button, I simply ctrl + w’d and left.

For months I would get an email from Audible saying I got 1 free credit and last month I got an email telling me that if I don’t use my credits I would lose them forever. I had no clue I was paying for these credits, and so what did I do? I spent many of them on books I never listened to after “purchasing.”

So the first thing I did was download my statements and disputed the charge in BMO. It doesn’t help that BMO’s webapp and mobile app do not work for me on mobile. To log into BMO, I can only do it on my laptop. After disputing, I then chatted on Amazon support. It took 10 minutes just to find the damn chat because there’s and and my free trial for cancelled properly but it was that didn’t go through.

After over an hour spent with Amazon support, with me using expletives of course, I left with an anxiety attack and only a refund for one month. All because I was pressured into using the credits last month because apparently if you pay for the right to buy one audio book, you are actually buying the right for only some time.

The subscription model itself is great, but if users are paying for it without using the service or product, then an ethical trillion dollar corporation should do the right thing and cancel the subscription on behalf of the user. Or at least warn the user that their subscription will be cancelled since there is no activity. Furthermore, if a user does want to cancel manually, the first action of cancelling should cancel the subscription and only then should the corporation ask for reasons why. If you want to show users promotions, then make the cancel button an accordion or a modal. With a modal, you can even implement the logic without javascript, so there’s no excuse to make the user press the cancel button 3 times just to finally be free of the subscription.

I hope BMO will fight these ridiculous and unnecessary charges and if not I will take Amazon to small claims court, because to be honest; I am down $200, I spent an hour with support, my ankle was aching for an hour, and my mouth salivating as if I was about to faint. I am privileged that I can afford to lose thousands of dollars without being homeless, but if this happened to other people there would be sever consequences.

I hope that governments actually start protecting their residents by regulating subscription business models so that users can cancel with a single click and a corporation that fails to abide by these rules should be liable for 40% of their revenue, since a survey found that 42% of respondents were paying for subscriptions they don’t use. Furthermore, corporations should be forced to cancel subscriptions of users who don’t user services for two billing cycles.