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Amazon to increase fee of prime from $99 to $119 in U.S (recode.net)
34 points by lechiffre10 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

I just cancelled my Prime membership that was $99 a year. I got a lot of use out of it, and from a customer perspective, Amazon is really great-easy returns, quick shipping, good customer service.

Reasons: * The increase in "fake" reviews, or even bad reviews (seriously, 1 word responses like "great") turned me off. Was I getting something good? or something that was boosted?

* The price of convenience was too high and it made my spending habits worse. Being able to quickly jump on an impulse and buy something was something at times I didn't control.

* The other services aren't as good as their competitors. The video library isn't great and I have cable already anyway. Amazon Music isn't great.

* The value isn't as good anymore. Their prices aren't cheaper than their competitors (e.g. Walmart). I can get free shipping anywhere now. The speed isn't as valuable as it once was to me. Certainly not at a price increase. What value has Prime added to me to justify the price increase?

I usually use https://www.fakespot.com/ to double check. I think a lot of sellers buy fake reviews without knowing about this service.

It's a good resource, but why is the onus on the consumer to make sure the reviews are good? If Amazon is doing anything to combat these fake review pumps, they haven't been public about it.

What I find really interesting is that as far as product and pricing strategy goes, starting low and raising prices is regarded as a big no-no. The argument being that customers (especially consumers, e.g. non-business clients) respond very negatively to raising prices, especially after getting used to price X. And yet Amazon has continued to hike up the price of Prime and people don't seem to be leaving.

Why? Does Prime really have no competitors? Are people "locked in" the Amazon ecosystem (akin to Facebook/Instagram)? Even though I could never work for Amazon as a "worker bee" (engineering or otherwise), I think Jeff Bezos and the people he surrounds himself with are absolute business geniuses.

Netflix costs roughly $130 per year.

Apple Music costs $120 per year.

Shipping costs $5-$7 per package.

They are offering less value, but also a lower annual cost.

Most prime subscribers would have these subscriptions as well as Prime so it's not really a saving, just some bonus content.

And, Netflix's prices have gone up with little cost to their user base. So I'm not sure the parent is correct.

Apple Music is $99 if paid for by the year

Subscribe to Youtube TV 40 dollar per MONTH...

This is just a hunch from me, but I think it has to do with the fact that people are in for a year usually. When the next year comes, you usually don't even remember how much you paid last time. It feels similar to how cable companies increase base prices after "deals" expire.

> you usually don't even remember how much you paid last time.

Amazon doesn't inform users when the year is up and your card is being charged again (unless the card has expired or some other issue).

They've become pretty good, however, at tracking/surveilling their users to "improve services" and spam your inbox with product offerings but they can't manage to let you know when charging you for Prime.

In contrast, I use a prepaid cell service that I set up to charge monthly. The day before a CC charge, I get a SMS message informing me that my card will be charged. The next day, I get a confirmation SMS about the results.

If you go into your account, you can hit a button that says "remind me before renewing" and it will email you.

Thanks! I just set up the reminder. It really should be opt-out but I'm sure Amazon knows what it's doing... Also curious if Amazon will send it's customers an email regarding the price increase (regardless of their settings).

Also strange... it also states on the left-hand panel (as of 27apr18, 1pm PDT):

> Next Payment: On September 25, 2018, you will be charged $99.00 for a year of Prime.

From all the articles I've read regarding this, the cut-off date for existing prime customers is June 16th. If I'm to be charged $119 on Sept2018, it should already be noted on the Prime Pages. Seems like a user-hostile action on Amazon's part.

True, but cable companies/ISPs generally have a monopoly. I guess Amazon kind of fits that bill, too.

If people complain about the price but still pay then your price is just about right.

At what point will customers start to say “maybe paying for shipping/driving to the store” isn’t that bad?

This is a 50% increase in price since Prime got started and if you’re not getting something delivered every fortnight probably costing you more. Let alone the fact that amazon has been shown to use their reputation as a cost leader (in electronics, books, etc.) to increase the price of everyday items so the same basket can cost you less in Walmart.

The problem is Amazon prices are frequently more expensive than competing online stores, so you're spending more with Amazon anyways.

I think people will eventually figure out the predatory nature of Amazon's practices. The question is if it will be before or after online competitors are out of business.

This is true, but this increase still comes in at slightly cheaper than Netflix and includes a comparable streaming service. From this perspective the free shipping is simply a bonus.

I wouldn't consider Netflix and Amazon Prime Video comparable. Netflix has around 10x the content whenever I look whereas amazon has The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle and not much else. I can't see many people having Prime and skipping a Netflix subscription so it doesn't really work as a saving it's more of a nice to have bonus.

I consider them fairly comparable:

* They both have a very large corpus of garbage shows and films.

* They each have a small handful of quality shows and movies that shifts as their licensing deals evolve and expire.

* Both of them are increasingly bolstering their content with self-produced content that is mostly of dubious quality.

At least in my household we seem to use each service roughly equally (I'd say 40/40 with the other 20% going to HBO now and no other cable, tv, or video consumption).

You're also not giving Amazon a fair shake if all you see of value is The Man in the High Castle and The Grand Tour, I clearly get a lot of value out of my subscription and I have yet to watch either of those. Right now I see they have all of House, Sons of Anarchy, Star Trek (most/all versions?), The Americans, and many more; dozens of episodes of I Love Lucy, Mr. Rogers, and Sesame Street; and some great movies like 1984, Spaceballs, Charlotte's Web, the Indiana Jones movies, (all the?) Star Treks, etc.

Yea that's really true for me. I didn't even think about Prime Video when I signed up but now I look at it as more important for me than the prime shipping. I feel duped. :)

Walmart has an excellent free two day shipping policy, as the case is, without a subscription fee.

They don't have nearly the selection for odds and ends, but I don't use Prime, and buy where I can order the cheapest and get free shipping.

Agree. There's still free shipping on larger orders, and if you need something cheap and can't wait to aggregate purchases you can always just pay extra to expedite. If you figure five bucks to expedite, this would cover 20 individual purchases.

Of course, there's the media content to consider, but at this point I've found myself scrolling through their content for several minutes before finding something I can bear to watch. It's more common for me to give up than to find something I'm excited about.

I've pretty much given up on Prime Video since they've added in Prime Video Direct. If I wanted to watch the crap that's flooding YouTube I'd watch YouTube.

It is really puzzling to me. I honestly don’t understand the continued growth of Amazon retail.

For most of the stuff I buy, Amazon prices are at par or worse than retail, plus you need to be aware of counterfeit goods.

As my son has gotten older I go to the mall more to see movies and actually find shopping there pretty good. Discounters like walmart and Target have upped their game as well in recent years. Looking at my Amazon credit card, my spend has dropped about 30% a year without any conscious effort on my part. I guess I am a weirdo. :)

I'm in one of those areas where I can buy everything from Walmart online and just drive there a few hours later and they load everything into my trunk. It's faster than Amazon shipping, I don't have to get out of my car (useful with 3 kids), it costs the same or less, and I don't have to worry about obvious counterfeit items.

I've been looking for a good reason to ditch Amazon and a 20% hike in their service price is as good a reason as any. With a few exceptions (like diapers), I rarely need something immediately. The courier companies they've been using can't seem to stop stomping across my lawn and through my planters, no matter how many times I scream at them or complain to Amazon. Prime Video has only a couple things worth watching and I already have a Netflix account. I just set the reminder to let me know three days before renewal, so I can cancel.

Netflix costs $130 a year. Would you pay that upfront ever and/or does prime give you a better value?

I actually pay more, so I can stream on more devices at once in 4k. It has entertainment value. I have no problem $15 a month for something that helps me relax after work or calms my child when she's upset that her mother and I are doing housework and I wouldn't have a problem paying that once a year as a lump sum. The Prime Video catalog provides none of those benefits as there's just not that much good content. Even the children's programming is mostly knock-off versions of popular shows/characters. The price isn't the problem, it's the value proposition.

The true value of Amazon Prime is shipping and as others have mentioned, the near instant-gratification aspect of same/next day delivery has been bad for our spending habits. Waiting a day or two extra isn't a bad thing and plenty of vendors offer expedited and/or free shipping without a yearly membership.

ps- Paying Amazon for Prime doesn't stop anyone from paying for Netflix because the Prime catalog is not an equivalent service. I currently pay for both. Now I'm only going to pay for one.

I would pay. I treat it as subsidising alternative to greedy, dated and crusty Hollywood. I don't mind that there is rarely something to watch. I am happy that couple of times a year can binge watch some new series. Works out cheaper than cinema.

Does anyone know why shipping speeds of 3-4 days are typically not offered? You see overnight, 1-day, 2-day shipping and then beyond that is 5 days or longer.

My most common time frame for delivery is that I order something over the weekend, and would like to have it by the next weekend. This is counted as being ordered by COB Monday, so with Amazon 2-day shipping it will get here by Wednesday, but with the old 5-day shipping, more often than not I wouldn't get it until the next Monday, which is too late. Then Amazon pushed this out to 5-8 days. In Amazon's case you could argue it is an intentional decision to boost prime subscriptions, but most other online retailers have similar delivery options.

I feel bad making people bust their asses to get a package to me ASAP, only to have it sit around for days without me using it, and wish a middle ground was available.

I don't really buy much from Amazon these days. I think it has a perception of good value more than it actually is. (I'm in the UK).

1) I can usually find nearly all of 'big ticket' items (TVs, laptops etc) on a competitors site for the same price or less, with fast shipping and extended warranty.

2) For random low value stuff eBay is often cheaper usually and doesn't have any shipping limits.

3) Amazon is absolutely horrible to browse with the amount of junk and fakes now, the signal to noise is way too low to try and compare products in a category.

The only thing I find them consistently good for and buy from ironically is books, what they started with.

Prime Now in London would be good but the UI is atrocious. It is basically unusable, there are so many glaring errors and features missing I don't know where to start. Different stores have different 'baskets', but it shows you products from all stores. So you end up with £12 in your amazon basket and £28 in your morrisons basket which means you can't order either as there is a £40 minimum order per 'store'. If they cancel your order for whatever reason (maybe one item was out of stock) you have to add everything by hand one by one, there's no readd to cart button. It's totally crazy for an ecommerce company to be SO BAD at UI.

My last eight items, over two months:

Cloth napkins (more convenient than trying to find them at crowded Walmart).

Replacement aquarium lights (cheaper than Petco).

Good no-spill sippy cups (could only find this kind on Amazon).

Art paper (nothing special).

Instant pot (used; only available in that condition on Amazon/Ebay).

Cloth diaper covers (hard to find these nowadays).

New ballast matching my aquarium lights (hard to find), when I found out that's why the earlier lights went out.

1" yoga mat because of my post-ACL-repair knee (hard to find).

I'm very sure I could find all of these on eBay with minimal effort. eBays experience maybe slightly worse than Amazon but I'm not paying $120 a year for it...

You wind up paying a lot more than $120 if you're getting 2-day shipping with all that.

I signed up for an Amazon Prime trial a couple of monthly ago, after not using Amazon in a while. Was generally happy with it, but then ordered a kitchen appliance that broke after using it once.

Left the most boring and respectful review you can imagine, just stating the facts, how it was used, and that it broke after using it as instructed in the manual.

The review was removed within a couple of hours for breaking some non-specific policy, while similar reviews that end on a positive note are shown prominently.

I don't want to use Amazon after that. They're clearly just cultivating a review echo chamber optimized for conversion.

Amazon ...

... ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’

... 'There are two kinds of retailers: those folks who work to figure how to charge more, and companies that work to figure how to charge less, and we are going to be the second.'

Amazon used to be this way, but it seems like they are drifting quite a bit!

Wait, the price is still $99 per year if you don't pay by the month. The price raise is only for those who were paying $10.99/month and will be paying $12.99/month.

No they mentioned a price increase for monthly subscribers before, this price increase is for annual subscriptions and will come in effect in May for new users. Renewal subscription increases for existing members are effective June.


Hmm, I swear that I read the price hadn't changed for annual subscribers, I stand corrected.

I had prime for couple of years until things started going downhill (mainly not available next day or weekend delivery), but what's broke camel's back was disrespectful attitude of customer "service". I can handle a lot, but not this. It's been couple of months now and I can see I saved a lot of money by not buying things on impulse, or buying cheaper elsewhere.

At this rate, how many packages would you have to order for Prime to be a good deal, assuming you use none of the other Prime services?

It's free shipping, prime video and prime music.

Netflix alone costs about $130 per year.

Half as good is probably a tenth the utility.

Not to be pedantic but it'd be $119 in shipping costs for break even?

Amazon offers free shipping for orders over $50, already. While it's not the 2 day benefit. It really comes down to if you want to order X amount of small items that can't wait for you to order multiple cheap items together. So it'll depend upon your value of patience and how you evaluate the value of your time waiting.

Over a year ago because of issues with a bad Amazon customer service experience, I canceled prime. I now just wait a little longer for shipment and to order (when I have several items) and so I 100% have saved money being patient.

After overcoming the fake urgency, I think it's all mostly a scam.

Unless, you use the other services enough.

You can still pay for fast shipping and rent a prime movie a few times a year and still be better off.

It’s the warehouse club model. Prime is their margin. The profit on the products likely doesn’t even cover their overhead.

I find that hard to believe. Quick google search shows >~100 million subscribers. Let's put that down at 10 billion revenue. That would only account for ~10% of their revenue

Amazon sent me a notification informing me that with my last purchase I had saved over $100 in shipping charges since [some date]. They're aware that some customers (me) are seriously thinking about how much Prime is really worth. They're also aware that each little extra adds up. "Free": video streaming, videogames, apps, music, coupons, ebooks. I would have already ditched Prime if it was only for two day shipping, and I think Amazon is making strong moves so that shipping is not the only/main reason people subscribe.

Do the math.

Hmm, combined with Amazon's increasing tendency to just not want to ship Prime stuff to Hawaii, it might be time to get out.

Should people pay to shop? If I buy a product from Jeff Bezos shouldn't he try to ship it to me as fast as humanly possible? If you don't have prime you end up waiting twice as long. Isn't that bad service?

Jeff Bezos (or any retailer) could ship you everything as fast as humanly possible, but then he'd have to include the cost of doing that in the price.

Instead, you get to pay for the type of shipping you want, or pay for expedited shipping up front.

Anyone knows if movies bought on Amazon streaming video require a subscription to be watched, eg on Roku and similar apps? I’m thinking of deleting Prime and wonder what will happen to movies I bought on Amazon platform

Anything you purchase off Amazon Video is yours to watch whenever, with or without a membership.

now this is getting close to the point that i check out walmart etc more often, then again, amazon is deeply rooted in online purchases these days already, sigh

Guessing it is related to USPS reform plan...?

Good lord AMP is garbage. I get sent to this Redirect Notice link. Can a moderator update the link please?

Updated. Thanks!

There should be a Chrome extension that does that.

Oh wait....

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