Amazon Fails to Dismiss FTC Lawsuit About Forcing Users to Subscribe to Prime Streaming Service

By Jose Resurreccion

May 30, 2024 03:41 AM EDT

Amazon Fails to Dismiss FTC Lawsuit About Forcing Users to Subscribe to Prime Streaming Service

(Photo : Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images )

Amazon failed to convince a US district court to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) lawsuit, which accused the tech giant of allegedly tricking people into signing up for its Prime service. 

Ars Technica quoted a court order dated Wednesday (May 29) saying that Amazon "tricked, coerced, and manipulated" its consumers to subscribe to the video streaming service and failed to get informed consent by designating an unclear signup process. 

The FTC further alleged that the Jeff Bezos-founded conglomerate did not provide "simple mechanisms" for users to cancel their Prime memberships but forced them to navigate a highly complex cancellation process.

Amazon Fails to Dismiss FTC's Complaint

In response, Amazon disputed the FTC's claims about its business, insisting that its enrollment process was clear, its cancellation process simple, and none of its executives could be held responsible for not working on the alleged processes. 

It also defended its current processes, saying that some of its Prime disclosures were aligned with practices the FTC encouraged them to do in its guidance documents. 

However, US District Court Judge John Chun ruled that the company's arguments were insufficient to dismiss the FTC's complaint. The judge also denied individual motions to dismiss the individual lawsuits against Amazon executives Russel Grandinetti, Neil Lindsay, and Jamil Ghani, all three of whom oversaw Prime operations. 

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Amazon Accuses FTC of Using Prime User's Details to Search for Witnesses

Amazon has to face the FTC's Prime lawsuit and another lawsuit that FTC chief Lina Khan said was aimed at destroying its alleged illegal monopoly, referred to by those following the company's legal row as "the big one." It also has to meet an FTC data demand that Amazon's lawyers claimed could pose a "massive" security risk for all Prime users. 

The company made its own court filing Wednesday, saying that it exchanged emails with the FTC regarding the agency's request for information regarding over "285 million" Amazon customer accounts regarding the company's forced Prime signups. 

Amazon said in its filing that the FTC's request was a "massive invasion" of data privacy as the agency allegedly needed contact information of "potential witnesses and victims."

Amazon asked the court to dismiss the regulator's attempts to modify discovery scheduling in the case, which is currently set to end in September and ahead of a bench trial scheduled for February 2025.

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