My household recently signed up for Amazon Prime (mostly for The West Wing) and have been exceedingly happy with it. Not only does their streaming service offer shows Netflix doesn’t, the free two-day shipping came in handy while ordering last minute cosplay items for New York Comic Con this year. It seems they’ve decided to try a new tactic to gain customers. Much like Netflix and Hulu, Amazon will now offer a $7.99 monthly option which includes everything the $79 yearly subscription does. Sound good? Maybe, maybe not. That comes out to $95.88 a year.
The Amazon Prime Terms & Conditions page hasn’t been updated since December 29, 2011 so we don’t have a clear idea what this new program entails. Here’s what the regular $79 yearly subscription fee gets you:
Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can enjoy instant videos: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video at no additional cost. Members who own Kindle devices can also choose from thousands of books — including more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers — to borrow and read for free, as frequently as a book a month with no due dates, from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
By opting for the $7.99 monthly option, you get the same thing. So why would you choose the one that’s going to cost you more money in the long run? There’s a few things to consider. Firstly, we’re not entirely sure if when you sign up for the monthly option, you’re automatically locked into a year of the service. Here’s what it says on Amazon:
Now to be honest, I was still confused. It seems like you can cancel after only one month and not be charged anything else, right? As I mentioned, the Terms & Conditions they link you to haven’t been updated in almost a year so I clicked “Sign up for Amazon Prime for $7.99/month” to see if I could get more information and was instead, actually signed up for the service.
I don’t have one-click ordering on my account so I was a little surprised there was no confirmation page between this and charging me. I mean, yeah they said I was authorizing them to charge my card but the lack of any real, descriptive information on that page led me to believe I’d find out more when I clicked the button. Luckily, since I didn’t use the service yet, I was able to cancel with no problem but I’m wondering how many other people might make the same mistake.
Regardless, does “your Amazon Prime membership continues until cancelled” means this is truly a month to month service, one that you can cancel at any time and pay only for the months you’ve used? If so, I can see them making out like bandits this holiday season. Sure, they’re hoping you’ll love what they have to offer and keep letting them charge your card. If you do, you’ll be paying more than a regular Amazon Prime member at $95.88 a year so that’s a big win for them.
Another thing to keep in mind, when clicking to sign up for Amazon Prime, I wasn’t given the option of the $79 annual service at all, just the monthly option. Others who have looked into this say it’s been showing different things for different people so it very well may be that Amazon is going to slowly get rid of their cheaper, yearly plan.