Free trials can end up costing you, how to cancel an Amazon Prime free trial

Pay particular attention to offers that require payment information

Published: December 10, 2014 01:30 PM

Think before signing up for a free trial, especially if you have to provide a credit card.

A recent settlement between the Iowa attorney general and demonstrates why you should be careful when agreeing to free trials for products or services.

The state said Amazon offered free two-day shipping to customers who enrolled in Amazon Prime on a free-trial basis. But unless those customers canceled during the trial period, those trials converted to regular Prime memberships, which carry a $99 annual fee and have automatic renewal.  Because the 1,100 memberships went unused, the state said it was apparent that some people didn’t realize they had them.

Amazon agreed to provide $122,000 in refunds and credits to Iowa consumers for unused Amazon Prime memberships. In agreeing to provide the refunds and credits, Amazon did not acknowledge wrongdoing. 

What to do

  • Before agreeing to a free trial, carefully read the terms and conditions, especially if you’re required to provide a credit-card number or other payment information.
  • Think twice if the trial automatically converts to a paid membership if you don’t cancel. If you sign up anyway, set up a cancellation reminder on your digital or traditional calendar.
  • Check whether the service renews automatically. You might be able to disable auto renew.
  • Also, review billing statements every monthly for unexpected charges.

—Anthony Giorgianni

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