Belfast Telegraph

Consumer: Card slip saw me charged for delivery service I didn't want

By Claire McNeilly

Most things are only a click of a button away, probably because big firms have done everything to make it simple for us to part with our cash. But remember: it pays to be vigilant.

One reader contacted us after he noticed £49 had been taken from his credit card.

Upon further investigation, he learned the charge was for 'Amazon Prime' – a membership programme "that guarantees fast and unlimited one-day delivery for eligible purchases for an annual fee".

The problem is the Belfast man didn't realise he had signed up for the scheme whose perks include reduced rates on certain Amazon deliveries.

"I placed an order for books without noticing I had agreed to a free trial," the man said. "It wasn't until I was going through my credit card statement that I noticed the £49 fee.

"When I got in touch with Amazon they apologised and cancelled my membership. They also refunded the money immediately, so obviously other people have had similar issues."

In response to a Belfast Telegraph request for details of Amazon Prime, a company spokeswoman sent this statement:

"Customers who sign up to a free trial of Prime are presented with the following information:

"Click the button below to start your 1-month free trial – you won't be charged now. If you want to continue after your Free Trial, do nothing.

"Your membership will automatically continue and we'll charge your payment method £49 for the next year and annually thereafter.

"If you prefer, you can select 'Do not auto upgrade' in the Manage your Prime Account section of Your Account and your payment method won't be charged.

"If you continue, we'll charge your payment method annually thereafter for your full membership unless you select 'Do not auto renew'.

"Customers can cancel their Amazon Prime membership and receive a refund of the membership fee if they or their registered guests haven't made any eligible purchases."

So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? Firstly, if unhappy with goods or services you bought, contact the company in question to explain what's wrong. If it's still not resolved, call Consumer Line on 0300 123 6262 and lodge a complaint.

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