Amazon Prime Video faces class action lawsuit over introduction of ad tier

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The suit is seeking at least US$5 million

Prime Video subscribers have filed a proposed class action lawsuit in a Californian court, following the introduction of the streaming service’s ad tier. 

Last year, Amazon made the decision to make the ad-supported tier of Prime Video the default, charging an extra US$2.99 per month to watch without ads. People who were already signed up to the streamer – paying a total of US$139 per year – found themselves having to pay extra to receive the same ad-free service they had before.

The legal case isn’t arguing that Amazon can’t raise the price of Prime Video subscriptions, just that those who have already paid their yearly subscription are entitled to receive the service ad-free, as it was when they entered into the contract. The switch to ad-tier midway through the contract, the case argues, is a breach of contract and a violation of state consumer protection laws.

As a result, the suit is seeking at least US$5 million, and a court order to stop the tech giant from “engaging in further deceptive conduct on behalf of users” who subscribed to Prime before 28 December 2023.

“For years, Amazon advertised that its Prime subscription included ad-free streaming of movies and TV shows,” the court filing reads.

“Like other consumers, [the] Plaintiff purchased the Prime subscription, believing that it would include ad-free streaming of movies and TV shows. But it does not. Plaintiff brings this case for himself and for other Amazon Prime members.”

Amazon has declined to comment.

Locally, Amazon remains tight-lipped about the launch of its advertising tier in Australia, telling Mediaweek, “We have nothing to announce yet”.  

For advertisers Down Under, Mediaweek understands the e-commerce giant is looking for launch partners to come on board for the initial launch before opening the platform up to all advertisers from Q4 this year. 

See Also: Amazon spruiks competitive rates for Prime Video advertising tier launch

Amazon announced the launch of its ad tier in November last year, with plans to launch in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Canada in January, with Australia, France, Italy, Spain and Mexico to follow later in 2024. 

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