Not everyone is thrilled about Amazon charging a little extra for ad-free Prime Video access – and it might just be heading to court.
It looks like the customers are fighting back. Last year it was revealed that Amazon is adding a monthly premium to the cost of a Prime subscription, for those who want to watch Prime Video without advertising.
This has since been added to the UK as well: as we reported at the start of the year, UK users can pay £2.99 if they want to keep their shows and films ad-free.
Not everyone though has taken this news particularly well. A class action lawsuit was thus filed in a federal court in California at the end of last week, that alleges Amazon misled its customers on this particular matter.
The lawsuit describes the company’s actions as “unfair”, “deceptive” and “unlawful”, with a key part of the complaint appearing to be that the core package Amazon customers were on has changed. This wasn’t a case – a la Netflix and Disney – where a cheaper, ad-supported tier was introduced. The standard package became that tier instead.
Amazon, for its part, spent nearly $20bn on films and TV shows in 2023, and continues to support cinema releases for a good chunk of its slate. It has not responded to the lawsuit at this stage.
The penalties if it loses the case – and its lawyers are, we’d presume, good and expensive – will be $5m in damages (piffle to the company), and an order that would, as per The Wrap, bar Amazon “ from engaging in further deceptive conduct on behalf of users who subscribed to Prime prior to Dec. 28, 2023” (more problematic).
It’s not just Amazon who will be watching this closely: other streamers presumably will be keeping a wary eye on what’s happening. The case has a long way to go though, and we’ll keep you posted as and when we hear more about it.