/ Technology

Amazon Prime price hike – sweetened by film streaming?

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Amazon has announced that its Prime service, which gives you one-day deliveries, will be increasing in price by 62%. It’s being sugar-coated with the inclusion of film streaming, but what if you have no interest in this?

Amazon Prime will be increasing in price from £49.99 a year to £79.99. Amazon defends the £30 hike by pointing out the extra benefits: Amazon Instant Video (previously LoveFilm) to stream films and TV, Kindle book rentals and discounts on Kindle devices.

Read more about the changes to LoveFilm and Amazon Prime on Which? Tech Daily.

What if you don’t want film streaming?

Existing Amazon Prime customers will be protected from the price rise until the end of their current year-long contract, but after that they will be renewed at the new price of £79.99.

Of course, Amazon points out that existing customers will benefit from all of the new features at their current price point until then. It even says you’ll be saving 35% on what you would’ve paid for both services separately.

But what if you only want speedier deliveries and have no interest in film streaming? What if you already have Netflix? Well, £80 is still the new price point for you.

Rolling over to £80 a year

It’s also worth pointing out that your contract will be rolled over automatically to the new price when your contract is up for renewal. If you don’t want to pay the new price of £80 you’ll need to turn off auto-renewal in your Amazon prime settings or let Amazon know directly.

Are you an Amazon Prime customer who will be affected by the price rise? Or were you considering signing up but are now put off by the change?

Comments

I have been waiting for this blog post Which and I do think you are being unfair on Amazon, we all knew that would do this (as they are trying to bring the UK in-line with the US).

You still get free shipping if you spend £10 and if you paid £49 for Prime you would already know that it is very cheap for heavy amazon users like myself. I get 3-4 orders from Amazon a week, everything from DVD’s, to food, to dog food for Bella. They could use Yodel, but nope, they give us better companies like DPD and a 1 hour slot, so I think it’s amazing. This costs money.

Mrs Dormouse says:
10 March 2014

Far from bringing us in line with the US, price wise the US Prime with the so called perks (not useful for me) is much the same cost as our Prime only was. The perks may bring us into line, but not the price. I do agree that Prime at £49 was a good price for a superb service but for many of us, £79 is a huge price hike and that takes us way OUT of line with US. It is also dishonest to make it sound like a great bargain with the perks when the perks are not brilliant or are even useless for some.

Mack says:
12 March 2014

In the US Prime is $79 which equates to just over £47.50. Convert the UK price to the US and the cost is $131.27. Bet they wouldn’t want to pay that.

Well, Lee Beaumont. 3-4 orders per week from Amazon – clearly, you are able to spend a great deal of money on products via Amazon and, given that Amazon doesn’t deal in groceries, it can’t be living essentials that you are buying. So, you may be in the comfortable position of being able to meet the price increase but many others are not – and, more importantly, many do not want to use the additional facility of videos/films.

“clearly, you are able to spend a great deal of money on products via Amazon” WRONG – Most of my orders are paid with Amazon vouchers. £0 cost to me.

“given that Amazon doesn’t deal in groceries, it can’t be living essentials that you are buying.” WRONG – Amazon do sell groceries & living essentials, they even have a special part for short dated goods that is amazing.

Vince says:
27 February 2014

I (like the other people in my office) have (had now!) an Amazon Prime subscription – we all agree it’s not bad at £49 – I think some of us get better value than others at that price, but the next day delivery was reliable (mostly) and judging by the multiple package deliveries practically every day was popular and clearly meant Amazon got a lot of our money in sales (I’d imagine we were profitable by volume as a group!)

However this latest change is both underhanded and entirely the opposite of what we wanted. Prime is now £30 more – that’s the bottom line. That they’ve added video is irrelevant – I don’t (and the vast majority of those I’ve asked/seen) want the video service, we wanted Prime (because if we wanted what was LoveFilm essentially, we’d have Lovefilm already as we’re clearly in the “will pay for stuff” demographic).

All of us in the office are ALSO Netflix subscribers – so we know what the standard is – Netflix video content is the same general thing as Amazon’s (there are variances but it’s very similar), except it plays more effectively, works on a much wider range of our devices (and between us being IT geeks, we have a lot of stuff to play with!) and doesn’t buffer all the time (I’m on a truly 80 meg fibre service so it isn’t a poor connection!)

What we want is very simple – we want our Delivery only Prime back. As that’s not an option, we’ve all cancelled our auto-renewal. It doesn’t matter that I have around a year left before my next renewal (it kicked in just before the change by chance) – and at £79 I won’t be priming anymore – I’ll revert to the method of a quick search for best value each time (Amazon often isn’t – Prime just makes it a quick and easy choice as I am sure Amazon know and stop me even looking elsewhere – no prime, no need to be Amazon.

Keith Bradbury says:
4 March 2014

Well said! We have been robbed of single (Prime) service that we were lured into and now dictated to about. I am disgusted with the underhand treatment of not being given an option to keep what I agreed to initially. Shame on you Amazon! I read on one of your invoices that you aimed to be the most “customer centric” company in the world. What a joke! I am already testing the alternatives before considering my position for the future in all aspects of your services and not just Prime. I am virtually housebound and need online shopping but I still can not accept injustice.

I have had Amazon Prime for years but will now be cancelling when my renewal comes up. The content of subscription video services is always 18-24 months out of date. If I want the latest releases I use blinkbox. I am very annoyed by this change. They are making a big mistake because I was previously locked-in to spending £1000s per year but now I might as well shop elsewhere.

John says:
28 July 2014

Totally agree – isn’t something Which? can do on our behalf?

I was not a prime customer – I was a lovefilm customer with 3 discs per month. So now I find I’m paying £5.99 for “instant video” – prime with none of the other benefits of prime like delivery or kindle library, and £7ish for the DVD rental. In order to get full prime, I’d have to lose a disc because you can now bnly have 2, and pay £79 up front.

Not sure I’d use prime enough to get the cost back on that, and the lovefilm instant service is terrible. So I cancelled the instant video part and put the £5.99 towards Netflix instead, which after a free trial I instantly found to be a much better streaming service.

From the way the postal lovefilm section has been totally buried on the amazon website, I assume it’s only a matter of time before it’s gone completely, and only streaming services will remain.

Dave Cryer says:
27 February 2014

I am not happy about the changes at all. We should be given the choice.

If Amazon were not getting people subscribing to Lovefilm they should have just reduced the price and kept it as a separate service.

My thoughts … Amazon Forcing Streaming on Prime Members http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9mynE-9uAY

J Fisher says:
27 February 2014

If you want to know how unhappy people are with the changes to Amazon Prime membership just take a look at the general help forum on Amazon UK.

People are furious, both Prime members and Lovefilm members are cancelling their accounts.

Now I find that there is a Class Action Feb 19th 2014 against Amazon in USA for fiddling the prices they charge Prime members!

Beware Amazon, you have been shown to be poor employers on TV, fiddling prices now, no tax paid, you are not too big to fail!!

I succumbed to online shopping with Amazon way back in 1999. As a regular shopper with them I got onto Prime in 2007. Not as many as some but I get over 2 deliveries per week, most of which are for multiple items. So all in all I get a lot of stuff from them every year. I like(d) the Prime service because it enabled me to get my stuff the next day without any extra cost although their prices aren’t always the cheapest.

What gets me about all this is that they don’t seem to get customer loyalty at all. They could have easily had an option for this streaming video or a separate membership. Out of principle I’ve cancelled my Prime membership and won’t be shopping there in future. I must admit I was struggling with my conscience anyway with their other recent good decisions – tax planning, employer skills and so on. I suppose on the good side I’ll probably save some money now!

I wonder if people use Amazon Prime to get round the problem that Amazon is hopeless at estimating delivery date for standard delivery. I often receive goods a day or two before the expected date, which makes it difficult to plan when I need to be in to take a delivery.

My last Amazon order was a slim guidebook and I wondered why Royal Mail left a card rather than posting it through the letterbox. I have just returned from the Royal Mail delivery office with a very large box containing a large box. Thank you very much Amazon.

NukeThemAll says:
28 February 2014

We’ve been Amazon Prime members (for good reasons I won’t bore you all with) for the last 2 years. Generally, it’s worked very well: however, it all goes horribly wrong when Royal Mail gets involved. The problem seems to be that Amazon use Royal Mail first-class post for Prime deliveries. In our area, this can take 3-4 days and it’s rare that items are delivered on Amazon’s ETA date. What Amazon **don’t** do is pay for Royal Mail guaranteed next-day delivery. Other couriers (for larger items?) seem to be reliable for delivery time. So, Amazon Prime? Hmmm…..Depends what you order and how important that “guaranteed” time is. You’ve been warned!

When you order something on Prime and it does not turn up the next day do you e-mail Amazon? If you do they always (well 99% of the time) add 1 extra month on Prime for free. I buy alot from Amazon and Each time I do this they add 1 more month on. So really I pay £49 (£79 now) every 18-24months.

I also love that fact they have started (in Leeds) using a company called City Sprint to ship DVD’s instead of Royal Mail. Perfect for me.

NukeThemAll says:
14 March 2014

Lee, we have indeed complained to Amazon when Prime fails to deliver on time. They generally argue a lot (on-line ‘conversation’) then extend prime by N months, N being variable according to how hard I push and how late the item was. N is normally = 1. But comes November, it will all be irrelevant because we won’t renew.

As a Prime customer for a number of years, I have been satisfied with the service. However, I will not be a Prime customer when my contract is up for renewal because I don’t want the additional services offered and, therefore, I don’t intend to pay for them. Amazon did not consult with its customers – poor practice – and has simply imposed this change. Perhaps if all Prime customers who don’t want the additional services were to cancel membership, Amazon would reconsider its decision?

Their streaming service is rubbish by which I mean the choice is pitifully small and the streaming is unreliable. We attempted to watch something on two occasions during a recent free trial and gave up. It isn’t worth paying for at any price including free. That’s why they don’t have many customers and I suspect they are trying a trick to boost apparent subscriber numbers to enhance their content negotiations. That and seeing if they stand a chance of pulling a similar stunt off in the US.

I’ve been a loyal Prime customer for several years. The increased price would probably still be justifiable because of the number of orders I have been making a year. However, the way they have attempted to introduce this price under the guise of enhancing the service is manipulative and disingenuous. I have cancelled my renewal as a consequence.

The response I received from one of the chief executives minions to me email complaint just hammered the nail into the coffin of my customer relationship with them. I’ll be shopping elsewhere from now on.

John Tyson says:
1 March 2014

I too am not happy with this change to the terms of Prime. I read on an Amazon forum that the thing to do is to email Christopher North, the MD of Amazon.co.uk, to complain (his email is cnorth@amazon.com). I received a very polite reply from one of his assistants offering a three-month extension of the service should I decide to continue with Prime. I don’t have to decide until my sub runs out in September, but will probably decide against. Meanwhile I have done some research and have found that for books wordery.com undercuts Amazon significantly and offers free delivery. By signing out of my Amazon account I also found that you seem to be able to get free Super Saver delivery from Amazon anyway if you spend £10, though it may not be ‘next day’. So Prime doesn’t seem to be very good value now if you don’t want streaming video.

CB says:
4 March 2014

My wife and myself have Prime as a means of obtaining good from Amazon the next day and because we live at the same address we both benefit, plus the premium comes out of our joint ‘bills’ account, but it is my wife’s name. This has caused a problem already, we both have kindles, but only my wife is able to benefit from the book library system, we have taken this up with Amazon, but had or have had no response. Now they are hiking the price of prime up from £49 to £79, but yet again only my wife can get the films on her kindle. We should be able to get them on a pc, but again only on my wife’s pc, but here also the catch we have to have some special software to do it…. Amazon obviously think we and many others are gullible …

lisa says:
4 March 2014

I would just like to point out that I have been an Amazon prime customer now for about 3 years. I was delighted with the service I had been provided with for an annual subscription of £49,and as a result of free next day delivery, I purchased many items from Amazon on a very regular, sometimes even weekly basis. As a result of the price hike of 62%, I will not be renewing this subscription, hence I will be shopping elsewhere once this subscription expires.

Peter Herbert says:
4 March 2014

And to think that in the USA they are getting het up about an increase from $20 to $40!
I wish we could have it for that price:

Sonador says:
4 March 2014

Like many here, I strongly object to Amazon’s decision to force me to pay more for a service (LoveFilm) I do NOT WANT in order to continue receiving a service I did want and was prepared to pay for. I have already advised Amazon that I will be cancelling my Prime membership when the current year ends. However, I have seen a number of posts on other sites suggesting that Amazon is not unhappy with customer’s cancelling their Prime membership as it was not making money at £49 – so this is nothing more than a price hike that will weed out those not paying enough. What we really need is some real competition to Amazon (I hear newegg.com is coming to Europe/UK?).

Jon says:
4 March 2014

The Prime membership has been of benefit to us and we have enjoyed Amazon’s excellent service.
We will not be renewing however, as we are not great film watchers and tend to have better things to do with our time.
Sorry Amazon, our affair is over!!

Bob Eager says:
5 March 2014

I think it’s generally understood that Amazon were losing money on Prime. What the bean counters failed to take into account was that people shopped on Amazon, if they had Prime, because it was simple and cheap.

Cancelling Prime will save Amazon money, so they don’t care. Going elsewhere will make them care. I have spent over £300 in the last week; I would normally have spent it on Amazon but by going elsewhere I have actually saved about £30.

As for the way they have treated customers. An insult to the intelligence to tell us this is ‘improved’. Patronising to tell me that once I’ve tried the streaming, I will grow to love it. Arrogant to believe that I will stay with them.

Chris says:
5 March 2014

I have been with Lovefilm for a long time and was very satisfied but I won’t be continuing with Amazon. Unfortunately I prepaid with Lovefilm till June and Amazon tell me I have switched my account to Prime with Lovefilm by Post, but I can’t access either. I have not had films issued by post for what feels like a week now. I already have switched to Netflix, Cinema Paradiso and will make more use of the local cinema. The least Amazon should do is send a daily holding email explaining the problem and progress on resolving the issue. But we get a holding reply asking us to wait a few days – this is now my third day and heard nothing. Its another thing Amazon have found too ‘taxing’.

Chris says:
5 March 2014

Latest update at 5.30 pm. They have cancelled my subscription as requested but refused to comment on whether I can be refunded the remaining 4 months of my original Lovefilm subscription.

Mack says:
29 July 2014

Email the CEO cnorth@amazon.com and tell him that you are going to the trading standards and making a complaint against him and his company. You may find that the matter is resolved in a more timely manner. Having said that, do go to the trading standards people and anyone else whom may be able to delve in Amazon’s piracy!

James says:
5 March 2014

I’ve been a Lovefilm subscriber for over two years and am now cancelling my subscription because of Amazon’s changes to the service.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

Steven says:
5 March 2014

i had lovefilm before the switch and a groupon credit that i had paid 6 month service for which wasn’t due to run out to atlest April or may (got emails to prove this) now i didint have prime so which the switch happend my 6 month voucher effectively useless and werent willing to do anything if you think im paying amazon a a fee after already paid you got to b kidding promptly closed my amazon account and setup a new one for orders only

wayne says:
5 March 2014

i too bought the 6 month groupon lovefilm deal and all worked fine up until they changed it over last week since then its not working.
ive sent loads of emails none have been replied too and chatted to various customer services but all they say is they will pass on my problem to tech support and they will fix it but tech support only sent me an email saying I needed to migrate my lovefilm account over to amazon instant I told them ive already done this and its been saying my accouont will be updated within 24 hours that was over a week ago !!!
if I don’t get any resolve to this issue I will be asking for my money back and will cancel my lovefilm account ..I checked my account before it changed over to amazon instant and I was still paid up until about june I only redeemed my voucher when I got my ps4 at xmas.
trading standards needs to step in and investigate amazon over this and other problems they’ve had over the amazon prime mess up.