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Subscribers sue over ad tier price hike – The Hollywood Reporter

Subscribers sue over ad tier price hike – The Hollywood Reporter

 


Amazon is facing a lawsuit accusing it of misleading Prime subscribers by charging them extra to stream ad-free movies and TV shows.

A proposed class action lawsuit, filed Friday in a California federal court, alleges breach of contract and violations of state consumer protection laws on behalf of users who saw the terms of their subscriptions with Amazon change when he decided to make his advertising level the default level for his more than 100 million subscribers.

In 2023, Amazon, which declined to comment, announced plans to enable ads for all Prime Video viewers. Last month, the platform rolled out the change, instantly transforming the service into a streaming advertising juggernaut and the largest ad-supported subscription streamer. Users have to pay an additional $2.99 ​​per month to watch ad-free.

But when Amazon changed its terms, users with annual subscriptions were also affected. They claim the change is misleading.

“Subscribers now have to pay extra to get something they already paid for,” the complaint states.

In addition to being “unfair,” the suit alleges that Amazon illegally benefited from advertising Prime Video as “ad-free” for years before launching its ad-supported tier, which “harms both to consumers and fair competition,” according to the complaint. .

The proposed class action seeks at least $5 million and a court order prohibiting Amazon from engaging in further deceptive behavior by users subscribing to Prime before December 28, 2023. It brings suit for breach of contract, false advertising and unfair competition. , among other alleged violations of consumer protection laws in California and Washington.

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission sued the tech giant for allegedly misleading consumers into signing up for its Prime service and then preventing them from canceling their subscriptions. The suit argues that Amazon uses a “manipulative” and “coercive” interface to trick users into signing up for auto-renewing subscriptions. He also alleged that many subscribers intended to only sign up for Prime Video, which is a cheaper option.

Prime is seen as a critical part of Amazon's retail dominance because it keeps users locked into the company's marketplace by offering them perks including access to Prime Video, according to the FTC.

Amazon was also sued in 2020 for unfair competition and false advertising over the company reserving the right to terminate consumers' access to content purchased through Prime Video. In 2022, a federal judge dismissed the proposed class action, siding with Amazon on arguments that its terms of service tell users that movies and TV shows they purchased could become unavailable in due to vendor licensing restrictions.

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