Amazon.comAmazon.com Inc. has been hit with a class action lawsuit accusing the company of encouraging third-party vendors to raise the prices of their products by the amount they would have charged for shipping, tricking customers into believing they were receiving free shipping.

In his class action lawsuit, plaintiff Cemal Ekin says he paid $79 per year for an Amazon Prime membership mainly for the promise of free shipping. However, he says that third-party vendors are told to raise their prices to cover shipping costs, causing Prime members to pay inflated prices for products despite Amazon’s free shipping guarantee.

According to the class action lawsuit, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service Amazon offers to third-party vendors. In return for fees paid by the vendors, Amazon warehouses products, fills orders, collects payments, ships orders, handles returns and provides customer service for goods owned by third parties that are sold on Amazon.com.

Ekin says Amazon encourages FBA vendors to list items for sale as Prime Eligible. However, “Amazon advised FBA Vendors to include the amount they would have charged for shipping in their item prices in order to maximize total revenue and profit margins,” Ekin alleges in his class action lawsuit. “Amazon disguised this price increase by giving priority to FBA Vendors, showing their items first in the results of a Prime Member’s product search.”

Ekin argues that Amazon’s practice breaches its contract with Prime members and is contrary to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. According to the class action lawsuit, the FTC’s definition of “free” explains that “a purchaser has a right to believe that the merchant will not directly and immediately recover, in whole or in part, the cost of the free merchandise or service by marking up the price of the article which must be purchased.”

Prior to February 2011, Ekin says the sole benefit of having an Amazon Prime account was guaranteed free shipping on all orders. He filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and all U.S. residents who became Amazon Prime members at any time from Oct. 24, 2007 and Feb. 22, 2011, and paid one or more $79 annual Prime membership fees during this period.

The class action lawsuit accuses Amazon of breach of contract and violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act. Ekin is seeking compensatory damages, including a refund of all annual Amazon Prime membership fees, treble damages as provided under the Washington Consumer Protection Act, attorneys’ fees and costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, and all other relief deemed appropriate by the court.

Ekin is represented by Stephen J. Sirianni, Chris R. Youtz, Richard E. Spoonemore, Eleanor Hamburger, Charles D. Sirianni, and David M. Simmonds of Sirianni Youtz Spoonemore Hamburger.

The Amazon Prime Shipping Costs Class Action Lawsuit is Dr. A. Cemal Ekin v. Amazon Services LLC, Case No. 2:14-cv-00244, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

UPDATE: Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the Amazon Prime class action lawsuit on July 24, 2014, arguing that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue.

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52 Comments

  • Teresa La Roche February 25, 2014

    I am also too Amazon customer and I buy all the time. I do not know if I been charged a membership fee I have to find out.

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      Unless you signed up for Amazon Prime membership, you will not be charged (shouldn’t). Try contacting them. I have found them to be very understanding. Customer Service is 5 Star rating. Direct TV needs to be attacked for taking money without a persons consent off a credit card. Amazon looks after the American Worker.

      • joe July 2, 2014

        look after the american worker, huh? did you pull that straight out of the amazon shill propaganda manual or did you think that up all by yourself, lying shill? i suppose outsourcing most of their customer service to india counts as “taking care of the american worker,” huh? failed to mention that, did you? is that because you think everyone is as stupid as you are? or is it just because you’re really really stupid and have no integrity whatsoever? (as evidenced by your masquerading as a “happy customer” when anyone lacking extensive brain damage can see that you’re a paid shill for amazon.)

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      Please do and advise. Unless you have signed up for an Amazon Prime Membership, I would believe not. Amazon is one of THE BEST online purchase business companies to be trusted. Did you sign up for an Amazon Credit Card? They even give promotions at various times ranging from 10-about 40- ( 40- I think cash back toward purchase). They have OUTSTANDING customer service and support American Workers with great benefits. Believe that you will not be overcharged by them and their is a solution to contact them and Amazon will work with you. Just call them. Plain and Very simple. 1-866-216-1072

  • Shannon Cross February 25, 2014

    Finally, a legitimate lawsuit. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been taken by that 2 day amazon prime delivery hoax or promo.

    • MuttonHead February 25, 2014

      I have used the free shipping before without a problem but I also have seen items which were not covered by the Prime Membership. I am on the fence with this.

      • april akins March 17, 2014

        Me to, I buy so many things with Amazon. When the product says elelagable for free shipping. I just don’t seem to get it.

        • april akins March 17, 2014

          So how does this work?

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      While I am not an Amazon Prime Membership Holder, nor would sign up for it because of various reasons including corporation financial gain, politics, latter reaching in lack of customer satisfaction, understanding, and care. At this time, I can and will vouch for Amazon in all my purchases and dealings, they have treated me well and the only online shopping center I use. (I do not want to negate this fact) I am telling you of my purchase/customer service/online experience with Amazon. However, Big Corporations can get greedy, monopoly state of business run practices, insensitive and obstenent, all about self, and take folk for granted.I am one person to vouch for them as they have been fair and appreciative of my business, yet so far in 3 years of dealing with them. It is a shame that this is occuring with Amazon in my experience but I do take heed to whats being said and will keep eye on customer/business complaints and this will determine my 5 star rating of Amazon. For every action is a cause/effect. I do not by any means disclaim this persons said word. This just wasn’t my experience.

      • Kelly February 25, 2014

        I love Amazon. Read on how they treat their employees and benefits. Amazon i stand behind you until you prove me wrong. Happy Customer.

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      That is bull crap.
      Amazon strives very hard to protect, maintain, satisfy.

      • joe July 2, 2014

        listen you stupid cunt of a shill – no one’s buying into your bullshit fawning over amazon… now stop wasting our time, crawl back into your little cubicle at amazon and continue to bask in the stench of your ignorant cunt.

  • Chris Maceiko February 25, 2014

    Amazon ripped me off as well! Even after I complained, 5 times, they continued to charge me! I want to help bring them down!

    • kelly March 1, 2014

      How did they rip you off? What was the issue? 1-866-216-1072

      • crystal July 1, 2014

        Amazon is ripping off Sellers! Individual sellers are not being paid. I’ve had two associates tell me I would be paid yet, on my end looking at my account its showing no disbursement and money is being with-held. I’m not a “new” seller, and was getting paid every two weeks until Mar of this year 2014.
        Google “Amazon ripping off sellers”.
        And yes I’m a prime member. There is no end to their dirty tricks ? :(
        Basically what they do is:
        For example, You work at a store and supposed to get paid $100. a week. A customer comes into the store and buys $50. So the store HOLDS the $50. INCASE the customer brings the items back!
        They claim it is legal and you sign in TOS? I was getting paid every two weeks and have never had my account have ANY hold EVER!!!!
        I have no A-Z claims.
        They are ripping off individual sellers, and who gets the interest on the money they hold?

  • Toni Wong February 25, 2014

    When I buy cat food I find the price is cheaper at a pet store regular price.

    • kelly March 1, 2014

      good for you! :))))))))))

  • Anjie D February 25, 2014

    Third party vendors charge extortion rates to return an item. Ex; 2 rugs @ $20 a piece, nothing like the photo, and poor quality. Return shipping fee was $16.78 per $20 rug. I will never order from a third party vendor again, EVER!
    Unfortunately I’ve had too many run ins with this situation. Amazon, has no response at all.

    • Kelly March 1, 2014

      true

      • Kelly March 1, 2014

        Direct TV needs to be sued.

        • JOE July 2, 2014

          SHUT UP ALREADY, YOU FUCKING CUNT. jeezus – do you have to comment on EVERYTHING? we get it: you’re a lying fucking bitch working for amazon – NO ONE CARES. NOW FUCK OFF. CUNT.

  • Gary Whitson February 25, 2014

    so how do i sign up for this?

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      Unless you signed up for Amazon Prime membership, you will not be charged (shouldn’t). Try contacting them. I have found them to be very understanding. Customer Service is 5 Star rating. Direct TV needs to be attacked for taking money without a persons consent off a credit card. Amazon looks after the American Worker.

      • Jessica February 26, 2014

        I completely agree with you about Directv they are a joke!!!!

        • Kelly February 28, 2014

          Attorneys looking at this should attack Direct TV. Thank You. This is a crucial matter because they are abusing power. I have been with them for years. I have much to say. Records and documentation. I dispite them and want a lawsuit toward abusement of authority/public trust, stealing, theft. To just feeling like an almighty dog while the people on earth is suppose to subject to whatever they dish out….
          Ha ha ha ha.
          Please lay off Amazon. I ask you that. Get on Direct TV. !!

        • Kelly March 1, 2014

          Direct TV needs to be reckoned with. LOL.
          Bulldogs need to fire under their ass. I dispise them. Top Dog bring Top think dog down.

  • Willie Johnson Jr February 25, 2014

    I shop Amazon a lot and I don’t know if I have been scammed or not I did order a floppy disk player that did not work with my PC and had to send it back the restocking and shipping cost more than the floppy player.

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      Unless you signed up for Amazon Prime membership, you will not be charged (shouldn’t). Try contacting them. I have found them to be very understanding. Customer Service is 5 Star rating. Direct TV needs to be attacked for taking money without a persons consent off a credit card. Amazon looks after the American Worker.

    • Adam February 25, 2014

      Unless you signed up for Amazon Prime membership, you will not be charged (shouldn’t). Try contacting them. I have found them to be very understanding. Customer Service is 5 Star rating. Direct TV needs to be attacked for taking money without a persons consent off a credit card. Amazon looks after the American Worker.

      • joe July 2, 2014

        adam – seriously, do you think EVERYONE is as stupid and ignorant as you and “kelly”? yeah, they take care of their american workers… HOW ABOUT THE BULK OF THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE WHICH IS OUTSOURCED TO INDIA? if they care so much about american workers, why is so much of the work outsourced overseas? are you going to address that or continue to talk in totally deceptive bullshit terms like you have been, trying to mislead people by implying that amazon is staffed primarily by americans?

        lying shitsack. how do you sleep at night? oh that’s right – you’re a fucking whore for amazon and will say and do anything as long as you’re paid enough. you should work on your delivery, IDIOT. it’s pretty obvious no one here’s buying your bullshit.

    • Kelly February 25, 2014

      maybe you should have better knowledge on your device.
      But, I can understand how you can order something from an indirect seller with incorrect measurements. I had an issue with my truck bar racks from a third party seller. Amazon does try to satisfy and this is all I can say. Now, however If they try to do Prime on all sponsored Amazon Products, I will be gone. LOL.

      • joe July 2, 2014

        do you EVER shut the fuck up, cunt?

  • Ron O'Bannon February 26, 2014

    I use amazon a lot during the Holiday’s . I’m not sure if I was over charged. I always received my things when I order.

    • Kelly March 1, 2014

      Amazon should NOT NOT NOT be under any fire here. I saw your posting on this and I trust and believe in Amazon even more. They are a good, reputable company. I am sadden behind this. They do not deserve this.

      • crystal July 1, 2014

        Kelly do you work for Amazon?

  • Charlita M February 26, 2014

    How does one become a member of this action?

    • kelly March 1, 2014

      If you have to ask and have read…. then you do not qualify. Step off of the board. Thank you.

  • Jessica February 26, 2014

    how do you become a member of this action?

  • lynn February 27, 2014

    How do I become a member of this action?

  • Kelly March 1, 2014

    Again, Direct TV seek and you shall find many plenty abuse of power of feeling “untouchable”, abuse of power, stealing without authorization off of consumers “expired credit cards” = oooohhhh, I want this so baddddd! Abuse of trust with consumers. Attack.

    • crystal July 1, 2014

      Kelly…HELLO! We are not talking about Direct TV? Go call a lawyer. We are talking about Amazon here. Quite trying to shift the blame.

  • Danielle March 3, 2014

    How do I become a member of this class action??

  • evett March 6, 2014

    please let me know how to be a part of this lawsuit I order stuff online because I am unable to get out in public I think it is ridiculous that they have hidden calls and they overcharge you I’m on a fixed income and want to know how can I be a part of lawsuit I feel robbed

  • Jason Burkett March 9, 2014

    I buy all the time they Telly try it free then charge with out knowing

  • john whitmore March 11, 2014

    I need a lawery ok ty

  • Lady March 13, 2014

    Sounds like Kelly works for amazon. And Adam too?

    • K.A. March 13, 2014

      I was just thinking the same thing, Lady. :p

  • Mark March 13, 2014

    Kelly, it would appear by your responses that you have been assigned damage control for Amazon, if in fact you are an Amazon employee I would be careful of disparaging DirecTV. Just saying. Not a fan of DirecTV either BTW.

    • Wiz March 14, 2014

      @Mark – I agree with you 100%, after reading Kelly’s responses it does appear she works for Amazon.com trying to do damage control. I’d also like to know how to join this Lawsuit against Amazon.com, its not the 1st time they’ve done shady tactics that they don’t want to get publicized!

  • kelly July 2, 2014

    Busted! Turns out in fact I AM a lying cunt! I didn’t think anyone would notice but golly gosh, I guess there are people here even smarter than me, what-with my 8th grade edumucation and all!

  • Top Class Actions July 29, 2014

    UPDATE: Amazon filed a motion to dismiss the Amazon Prime class action lawsuit on July 24, 2014, arguing that the plaintiffs lack standing to sue.

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