BI: SEC Investigates $AMZN Over Prime

Business Insider headline: Exclusive: FTC deepens investigation into Amazon Prime after Insider reporting, sending out subpoenas and other demands for information

Sub-headline bullets:

:pushpin: The agency is deepening its investigation into Amazon’s Prime sign-up and cancellation process.

:pushpin: The FTC has reached out to employees, and sent subpoenas and a Civil Investigative Demand.

:pushpin: Insider reported in March Amazon was aware of the customer complaints, but decided not to use clearer language in part because of slowing growth.

The Federal Trade Commission has deepened an investigation into Amazon’s Prime subscription service and whether the e-commerce giant intentionally dupes consumers into signing up for the membership program.

The probe focuses on Amazon’s use of ambiguous language and design in its Prime sign-up and cancellation process, commonly known as “dark patterns.” Internal documents reported by Insider in March showed that Amazon has for years worried about customers feeling tricked into signing up for Prime, and yet the company chose not to use clearer language because it didn’t want to slow the growth of its subscription business.

As part of the investigation, the FTC has been recently reaching out to current and former Amazon employees, and has sent out subpoena letters in some cases, according to people familiar with the matter. These people asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.

Correction: Yikes, I realize the headline said the SEC investigates $AMZN when I meant the FTC.