Entrepreneur Beth knows the highs and lows of being one's own boss.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon is a major player in online shopping, and it offers free shipping if you spend a relatively small amount. However, this service is a loss-leader. Amazon Prime membership is the way Amazon cross-subsidizes its free delivery offer. Prime members spend more than twice as much per head compared to non-subscribing customers. So in order to encourage sign-ups, Amazon offers a free 30-day trial sign-up to its Prime service.
Is the 30-Day Trial Really Free?
When you sign up for a 30-day Amazon Prime trial, you also agree to pay a subscription if you continue the service beyond that 30-day period. So make sure you cancel the payment authorisation asap. You can tick a box to receive a reminder when your free period is about to end. However, I recommend you don't wait for this reminder before cancelling. I always cancel the pending subscription as soon as I have activated the free trial period. That way I get the benefit of Amazon's Prime trial offer, without having to pay anything for it. If you change your mind later and decide that after all you do want the service, then it's simple to restart Prime with one click on your account page.
Amazon Prime Day Sale Bargains
Once a year selected goods are offered at 20% discount to Prime members. Often they are include things you would be buying anyway. By taking the month’s trial, you can make a 20% saving on your order. The selection of goods included in the sale is huge, but you have to be a Prime member to get the discount. If you've never been a member before you're offered a 30-day free trial of the service.
The website asks for your credit or debit card details before you complete the sign-up. This is because Amazon hope you'll forget to cancel the payment mandate after the trial. If you don't cancel, the free offer automatically converts into a paid membership. If you are a savvy shopper, after registering with the service, I suggest you go immediately to the “cancel your trial Prime membership” option in your account. By cancelling straight away, you retain the free period, but will not be billed when it ends. If you like the service, you can always rejoin. The monthly fee is the same whether you opt for continuous membership now, or come back later and reactivate it.
Amazon Prime Review: Is It Worth It?
Before I had Amazon Prime, I always opted for the (slow) free delivery, and they would get to my home, unhurried but well packed. With my free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, I ordered several sales items and got 20% off the bill as well as upgraded delivery. Membership of the Amazon Prime service means free next day delivery with no minimum spend. All good so far. Well not quite.
Amazon promises “fast delivery and more” for Prime customers. I got the fast delivery but the “and more” was not quite what Amazon intended. The 2-day sale had obviously proved very popular and the warehouse packers had had to work quicker than normal. An Amazon order normally arrives packed in a sturdy cardboard box with plenty of bubble wrap inside to protect the items from damage on route. My purchase arrived with no protective outer wrapping at all. The retail shelf pack had simply had an address label slapped on. It stood little chance of arriving undamaged, but there’s more.
When I received the package, I could see that one end was torn and broken. I complained to the driver, but he wouldn't allow me to reject the delivery. To cut a long story short, I phoned Amazon. They apologized, and sent me a replacement the following day using a different courier. However, I know from experience they would have also done this if I had been a non-Prime customer. So unless you need quick deliveries, I don't think next day delivery on its own makes the fee for Amazon Prime good value.
Pros and Cons of Prime Subscription Service
- Free one-day shipping
- No minimum spend for free shipping
- Access to special deals
- Can get bulky and heavy grocery items delivered
- Free unlimited downloads
- Rushed service leads to mistakes
- You get free shipping anyway if you spend at least $35/ £20
- Encourages you to spend more than planned
- Not all items are cheaper online than your local store
- Shopping and spending online distracts you from other tasks
10 Hidden Amazon Prime Benefits and Perks
What Does Amazon Prime Offer?
The cost in 2020 for Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 per month in US and £7.99 per month in UK. Or you can pay an annual fee of $119 or £79. The subscription service includes the following:-
- Free next-day delivery
- Digital credits for choosing free-no-rush shipping option
- Unlimited deliveries with no minimum order size
- 'Try before you buy' fashion service with Prime Wardrobe
- Instant access to video streaming with Prime Video
- On-demand, ad-free music streaming with Prime Music
- Unlimited reading on any device with Prime Reading
- Unlimited listening to original audio series from Audible
- Free game content every month, exclusive discounts with Twitch
- Free unlimited photo storage through Prime Photos
- 30-minute early access to select Amazon Lightning Deals
- Groceries though Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh
On balance, I won't be signing up for Amazon Prime as I wouldn't make enough use of the “extras”. However, if I wanted to make a lot of purchases at a busy time of year like Black Friday or Christmas, joining Amazon Prime for a short time could be worthwhile to get quicker deliveries. Signing up for a free trial 30-day trial is worth doing. It gives you the chance to see whether paying a monthly fee would benefit you.
How Easy is it to Cancel the Free Trial?
It's very easy to cancel your free subscription. But remember to do so before the 30-day period is up or you will be charged for the following month. Go to your Amazon account page and find the menu tab marked "Prime". There you will be able to cancel the trial with literally just a click of a button.
What Happens If You Forget to Cancel Your 30-Day Prime Trial?
It's a good idea to note the end of your 30-day Prime trial on a calendar. You'll receive a reminder from Amazon when payments are about to be taken, so you should make sure you cancel the subscription when prompted. There's no good reason why you would not cancel the service in good time. However, it's possible that Amazon's reminder gets delivered to your spam folder and you are charged for a Prime service you do not want. Don't panic. You can cancel at any time, so do so as soon as you realize the mistake.
If you've forgotten to cancel, a month's subscription payment will be taken from your credit or debit card as per Amazon's terms and conditions of service. You can ask for it back, but if you complain in an aggressive manner, you're unlikely to get a refund. If you are polite and courteous, Amazon staff are often be willing to return any payments already taken.
Prime Wardrobe Try-Before-You-Buy Service
Amazon continues to add to its portfolio of products. The latest addition is a try-before-you-buy service for clothing and fashion. It is currently offered in three countries; US, UK, and Japan. Named Prime Wardrobe, the service allows you to order between 3 and 8 clothing items with no upfront payment. You then have 7 days to decide whether to keep or return them. The more items you keep, the bigger the discount you are given on their purchase price. You can access Prime Wardrobe with a 30-day free trial subscription of Amazon Prime.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.