Amazon defends Prime program in bid to defeat FTC lawsuit
Amazon defends Prime program in bid to defeat FTC lawsuit

Amazon defends Prime program in bid to defeat FTC lawsuit

(Reuters) – Amazon.com has denied duping millions of subscribers to its Amazon Prime service, asking a U.S. judge in Seattle to dismiss a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that the ecommerce giant said “fails in its entirety.”

Attorneys for Amazon on Wednesday urged U.S. District Judge John Chun to dismiss the FTC’s claims that the company had tricked consumers into enrolling for Prime and made it hard for them to cancel. The FTC in June sued Amazon for alleged deceptive practices.

In its filing, Amazon said it “prominently and repeatedly” disclosed key terms — including price and automatic renewal — to Prime customers. Amazon also accused the FTC of seeking to punish the company through “undefined concepts” such as “manipulative” website designs.

“In a case supposedly about clarity, the FTC’s purported standards are unconstitutionally opaque,” Amazon said.

A spokesperson for the FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An Amazon spokesperson in a statement said Prime’s sign-up and cancellation processes “are clear and simple by design” and “have always met a standard for customers well above legal requirements.”

The lawsuit is part of the Biden administration’s ongoing regulatory and enforcement squeeze on big technology companies.

In a separate case, the FTC in September accused Amazon of violating U.S. antitrust law in business practices that restrict merchants from offering lower prices than Amazon’s. That case is also pending in Chun’s Seattle court.

The FTC’s Prime lawsuit said Amazon “under substantial pressure” from the FTC changed its cancellation process in April, before the agency filed its lawsuit. The complaint said “Amazon still requires five clicks on desktop and six on mobile for consumers to cancel from Amazon.com.”

A 10-day non-jury trial in the case is scheduled for February 2025.

(Reporting by Mike Scarcella; Editing by David Bario and Josie Kao)

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