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I just cancelled Amazon Prime after 6 years. Tough decision.

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I just cancelled Amazon Prime after 6 years. Tough decision.

Old 01-02-19, 10:25 PM
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canklecat
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I just cancelled Amazon Prime after 6 years. Tough decision.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, I know... tl;dr Short version, per @RubeRad's suggestion: Basically it just amounts to "I got Prime for my mom in 2012 to keep her mentally occupied during her struggles with Alzheimer's. Mom got a lot from Amazon digital content. I don't. Mom died in November 2018 and by then hadn't been able to remember how to use her Kindle tablet or Amazon Prime for more than a year. I was the only one using it. After reviewing 2018, for the first time I realized the subscription fee wasn't paying for itself." So you don't need to read the rest unless you like minutiae.)

*****

After 6 mostly satisfactory years as an Amazon Prime subscriber I just cancelled. It was a tough decision and I waited until nearly the final day of my 2018 subscription to pull the plug.

For me personally it was motivated by decreasing customer satisfaction. The next-to-last straw was a series of late deliveries since autumn 2018, and unfulfilled promises of compensation.

The main reason we had a family Prime account was for the convenience of my mom, who died in November after a year-long bout with multiple health issues, including a chronic infection, pneumonia and Alzheimer's.

By 2012 her gradually encroaching dementia suddenly worsened. It robbed her of the independence she had treasured so fiercely for decades, sometimes to a reckless extreme. By 2012 it became dangerous for her to venture off solo, even to check the mail or to take her power wheelchair down the street to Walgreen's and the dollar store and back home, a round trip of less than a mile.

So for her birthday we got her the first generation Kindle Fire HD tablet. Besides being affordable, the tablet provided access to Amazon's walled garden, the closest thing the Android world offered to Apple's friendly and protected approach for folks who weren't tech savvy.

Mom had increasingly found computers and the internet in general harder and harder to use. By the late 1990s she had her own PC and web access, and exchanged emails with family and friends, did some genealogy research, all the usual stuff folks do. But by 2007, after her knee surgery, everything became more difficult. She never fully recovered from the effects of anesthesia and morphine for pain. We didn't realize it then but those were the early warning signs of dementia. She got a new laptop in 2012 but never could figure out how to use it, even though it was an even easier operating system than the old versions of Windows and Mac OS she'd been using without problems. As mom described it, she seemed to be leaking out information through holes in her brain. Anything she learned late in life became unlearned. As with many older folks suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's she only retained her earliest memories from childhood and young adulthood.

The Kindle Fire HD and Amazon Prime subscription gave mom her first real access to online content without constant supervision. She could watch movies and TV shows -- she binge watched all of Firefly in less than a week. She'd always been a voracious reader and had access to free books from the Kindle library and affordable books to purchase. She played games. It seemed to stimulate her mind more than anything else we'd tried. And it was all on a device small enough to carry in her purse so she'd have something to do on long days with the medical appointments that seemed to dominate and dictate her life.

But over the years, with worsening tremors, she also lost the ability to control her hands and to discern between the wish lists, cart and actual purchases. No problem, Amazon always cheerfully cancelled her many inadvertent purchases: movies she didn't want to watch, music she didn't want to hear, books she didn't want to read, even a $10,000 milling machine and industrial warehouse equipment.

That was a huge relief. For years I'd intervened to protect my grandmother and mom from predatory businesses that prey on seniors, ranging from catalog orders to home shopping networks to late night infomercials. The problem with so many of those outlets is they use unscrupulous business practices commonly called cramming. A notable example was a pet hair comb mom bought for her cats. The comb cost $15, and was probably worth about $2. Then her phone bill doubled. I noticed she was being billed $50 a month for vaguely described "discounts". It was a scam. When she confirmed the purchase of the pet comb over the phone, she unwittingly consented to the marketing scam that crammed a charge onto her phone bill for useless discount coupons to places she'd never go. I managed to get a full refund. But she'd lost money to previous scams, as did my grandmother and several neighbors.

No such problems with Amazon. No matter what mom "bought," I could always undo the damage. I got instant alerts to everything on Amazon so as long as I contacted customer service immediately they fixed the problem.

Well, they didn't actually "fix the problem". The problem with Amazon remains. The website is a disorganized mess. Probably intentional. It hooks you in longer, browsing to find things because searches are ineffective and too many unrelated items are tossed into the hits.

And with touchscreen devices it's difficult for folks with tremors to navigate the interface. It's always been the same since the earliest home computers in the early 1980s. The devices and interfaces are designed by experts who forgot what it was like not to know everything. They've rarely managed to properly design a device or interface that works as simply as a good appliance. And by "good appliance" I don't mean the clock on a microwave oven or VCR.

By 2015 or so mom could barely remember how to use her Kindle tablet anymore, other than for reading or playing mahjong. I had to disable one-click purchases. Then I had to disable her tablet completely from Amazon purchases. I had to install an app to block most websites from the old Silk browser that wasn't being upgraded in her older tablet. I tried to give her newer Kindle tablets but she didn't like them. Anything new was more confusing, not less. The tiniest change was too much.

So I was the only family member still using Amazon. I'd put books or magazines on her tablet, but in the final year mom couldn't remember how to use her Kindle at all. She preferred paper books and magazines. We didn't watch new movies or TV shows -- they were too confusing. She preferred reruns of familiar shows.

For awhile I got some use from Amazon's 2-day and same day delivery. If I planned to do some bike maintenance on a specific day and discovered I needed a part or tool, I could order it and have it by early afternoon the same day or next day.

But I was wasting time trying to fill the cart with the $35 minimum needed for same day deliveries. And the same-day delivery scheme fizzled out quickly. Amazon couldn't retain reliable couriers for local same day deliveries. By 2018 not a single same-day delivery arrived on time. Even 2-day deliveries became 3-day deliveries. And they no longer used the mail, which was more convenient for me -- oversized parcels went into the locker boxes at our apartment complex. I didn't need to be home for UPS or FedEx. And FedEx has rarely been reliable in our area anyway.

Amazon customer service would offer compensation -- usually credits or gift cards -- but by 2018 they never appeared on my account. The last time I used Amazon customer service I was transferred to at least six different people, all of whom claimed to be escalating the problem to a manager, or to the correct department.

So I was ordering more often from Nashbar, Jenson USA, etc., or directly from the manufacturers. I rarely needed anything the same day anyway. And my orders from Nashbar, Jenson, etc., using standard shipping almost always arrived sooner than expected, sometimes within only 3-4 days.

And I wasn't getting much use from Prime TV/movies. Even when I found something I wanted to watch my neighborhood's ISP is abysmally slow. It claims to offer 10 mbps downstream but I couldn't stream movies without glitches unless I used the lowest quality setting. Even then there were glitches no matter which PC and video settings I used. Only the smaller tablets or phone could stream fairly free of stuttering, but even the Kindle Fire HD tablets couldn't always stream in HD, so I'd need to download movies to get glitch-free streaming. And Amazon discontinued the options to download movies to non-Amazon devices to watch offline (I think that was Amazon Box or something like that? Anyway, it's gone due to piracy concerns.)

Ditto, music. I wasn't using it much. I mostly listen to the local classical station on a mono radio. For new music I'll check Pandora, YouTube, Soundcloud, whatever service local and indie bands are using.

I'm not sure when I last read a book on the Kindle tablet or phone. I just bought an ebook version of one of my favorite novels, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Only cost 99 cents. It'll be interesting to see whether Amazon deletes it after I've cancelled my Prime subscription. In the past other books I've purchased legitimately when they were offered unconditionally free just disappeared off the devices later. So Amazon's book purchasing scheme remains opaque and tenuous. Which is why I won't pay full price for any ebook through Amazon.

I mentioned the next-to-last straw earlier in this tome. The last straw? When I browsed my Amazon account status today, trying to decide whether to renew, I saw a notice that all eligible Amazon purchases in January 2019 would receive free standard shipping, about 3-5 days. That's the same actual delivery service I was receiving with Prime 2-day and same-day delivery promises.

So I pulled the plug.

Bye, Amazon. It was swell for awhile. Maybe see ya again after you get it together. But for $119 a year, it should include all services including the music, books, movies and TV shows that now require additional cost subscriptions. It should also include a proper archiving service for photos and videos, not just "Prime Photos", which lacks even the rudimentary tools Google offers free. Even then I'm not sure I'd subscribe again. My DSL service is so slow it's useless for upstream archiving, or for uploading videos to YouTube or other site.

Last edited by canklecat; 01-07-19 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:14 AM
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too long for me to read now....but sorry to read about your mom. hoping you both felt the passing as a caring blessing.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:34 AM
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Thanks.

Basically it just amounts to "Mom got a lot from Amazon. I don't. After reviewing 2018, for the first time the subscription fee wasn't paying for itself."

I'll probably still buy from Amazon. I just don't see enough value for the Prime subscription. Especially when they offer a month's free shipping to everyone for eligible items.
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Old 01-03-19, 04:08 AM
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I also see the Amazon Prime as something not really needed (at least living in the EU). I need to wait at max 5-6 days to get my stuff, but isn't the waiting time the special thing when buying online?
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Old 01-03-19, 06:48 AM
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The regular free shipping works for me as well. There is almost never anything I need tomorrow. I can wait a week or so.
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Old 01-03-19, 07:38 AM
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I never had Prime, but ditched Amazon completely a while back when they started setting aside non-Prime orders to sit in their warehouse for an extra 7-10 days, just so that shipping would not be as fast as the same item ordered through Prime. This seemed cruel and spiteful on their part, since my already-paid-for merchandise is in theory actually costing them extra money by taking up warehouse space, instead of being loaded onto a delivery truck along with everyone else's orders. I try my best not to encourage these types of selfish business practices, so these days I happily spend my money elsewhere.
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Old 01-03-19, 07:58 AM
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When I factor everything together, the free Prime movies, the books, music, the free shipping, I don't allow myself to get too hung up on the two day shipping thing. I saw a lot of posts this past Christmas about people getting all hung up over it. You don't get it from other retailers unless you pay a premium. You can't go out and buy specific items you are looking for any more. Stores are quickly having less and less of what I actually want. I don't mind planning ahead or actually just waiting a few days to get what I specifically want.
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Old 01-03-19, 08:26 AM
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I like the services, including their prime video streaming, that I get from Amazon. I am not toofond, however, of their management and of their work practices.

I guess that once I become offended enough I will drop them. But then again, what is left out there that is truly ethical—probably not much.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I never had Prime, but ditched Amazon completely a while back when they started setting aside non-Prime orders to sit in their warehouse for an extra 7-10 days, just so that shipping would not be as fast as the same item ordered through Prime. This seemed cruel and spiteful on their part, since my already-paid-for merchandise is in theory actually costing them extra money by taking up warehouse space, instead of being loaded onto a delivery truck along with everyone else's orders. I try my best not to encourage these types of selfish business practices, so these days I happily spend my money elsewhere.
Same. It didn't take too many times for me to watch the shipping tracker and see them sit on my order for a week then ship from one of the local DC's the day before it arrived. I even cancelled my audible subscription, which I actually liked.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:41 AM
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I would like to ditch Prime. The price goes up seemingly every year and in Amazon math, 2 days = 3-5 days depending on when you order. Also from what I can tell the price on Prime eligible items = the price plus shipping on non-Prime items, so you're not actually saving money but because of the myth of free shipping you end up ordering more from them.

Also I don't like their business and labor practices.

But my wife isn't on board yet, she likes it and keeps renewing the subscription and this isn't the hill I want to die on. So I guess we'll have it for another year until the subscription is close to renewal and we can argue about it again.

In the meantime sometimes Prime Video is a nice perk. I just started watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is pretty engrossing. I'm also waiting for Season 4 of Catastrophe.
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Old 01-03-19, 10:32 AM
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I cancelled Prime when my free student trial (ah the joys of having a .edu email) expired. Prime Video was nice, we might have abused the free next-day shipping a few times.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:06 AM
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Active Amazon subscriber since 1998. First orders? Books, if you can imagine it. We watch stuff on Amazon Video... a lot, and Amazon Music is in use a few times a week. So I consider the $10 a month for the entertainment services. The fact that we placed 189 orders in 2018 and didn't pay for shipping on any of them is just the gravy. People like to yell and wave their hands as if Amazon is expensive, and "they don't get what they pay for." Well, in some cases that might be true. If you don't watch it, and you don't make orders, then don't pay for it. We have monthly Subscribe & Save orders, and average over 3 orders per week. We just burned through 2 seasons of Mrs. Maisel in a week. I can watch Band of Brothers and Generation Kill whenever I feel like it.

We subscribe to Pandora, PSN, Hulu, and Amazon-- of the four, Amazon is easily the best return on investment. What we don't pay for is cable. Going on 5 years since we "cut the cord" and I don't miss it at all. Especially the bill, which was more than all of the subscription services combined.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Active Amazon subscriber since 1998. First orders? Books, if you can imagine it. We watch stuff on Amazon Video... a lot, and Amazon Music is in use a few times a week. So I consider the $10 a month for the entertainment services. The fact that we placed 189 orders in 2018 and didn't pay for shipping on any of them is just the gravy. People like to yell and wave their hands as if Amazon is expensive, and "they don't get what they pay for." Well, in some cases that might be true. If you don't watch it, and you don't make orders, then don't pay for it. We have monthly Subscribe & Save orders, and average over 3 orders per week. We just burned through 2 seasons of Mrs. Maisel in a week. I can watch Band of Brothers and Generation Kill whenever I feel like it.

We subscribe to Pandora, PSN, Hulu, and Amazon-- of the four, Amazon is easily the best return on investment. What we don't pay for is cable. Going on 5 years since we "cut the cord" and I don't miss it at all. Especially the bill, which was more than all of the subscription services combined.
Agreed (although cutting the cord in Canada isn't very viable)… prime has easily paid for itself as a total service. Not to mention deliveries.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I never had Prime, but ditched Amazon completely a while back when they started setting aside non-Prime orders to sit in their warehouse for an extra 7-10 days, just so that shipping would not be as fast as the same item ordered through Prime. This seemed cruel and spiteful on their part, since my already-paid-for merchandise is in theory actually costing them extra money by taking up warehouse space, instead of being loaded onto a delivery truck along with everyone else's orders. I try my best not to encourage these types of selfish business practices, so these days I happily spend my money elsewhere.
What I find funny about this aspect is that the USPS does the exact same thing with items you ship with them based on what tier of delivery service you pay for. Other shippers do it too, but not to the same level.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:55 AM
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I cancelled my Prime a year ago and have since rejoined. If you buy bikes from Amazon they charge $60+ for shipping and I’m a big fan of Critical Cycles fixies and Beach Bikes sold by Amazon. They also have a lot of tools, clothing etc. that I like and cannot get locally. So it $7 a month well spent for me.
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Old 01-03-19, 12:07 PM
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I buy books mostly at thriftbooks. Anything else I can buy in a store. My bike is faster than 2 day shipping.
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Old 01-03-19, 05:34 PM
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I've thought about cancelling, I'm up for renewal and either prime student is gone or I have been using it for too many years. I think, for me, the benefits outweigh the cost. It's not much different than paying credit card fees on a card with good rewards. If you are a smart shopper and don't buy things you don't need, it can be a great tool.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:55 PM
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I'll admit I was on the fence until the last minute, mostly for the Prime TV/movies. I binged Hannibal last January when I was such in bed all month.

And I binged Orphan Black and The Expanse this summer/autumn while recovering from being hit by a car. I'd watch episodes while using the indoor trainer. Motivated me to work out.

But our ISP is too slow to stream in HD. Not Amazon's fault but it's a disincentive to renew.
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Old 01-03-19, 07:17 PM
  #19  
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Half of the items in my apartment come from Amazon. Still I was about to cancel them but decided instead to maintain them at this point mostly for video streaming and suspend Hulu and Netflix instead.
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Old 01-03-19, 10:34 PM
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Also (lotta alsos, I know), it was hard to justify renewing Prime with my medical bills from 2018.

Yeesh.

$119 may turn out to be my entire bike budget for 2019.

Don't get old. Or sick. Or hit by cars. Life is an expensive hobby.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:14 PM
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Actually, those disabilities either individually or in combination can many times put you in a position for a reduction in cost. Entertainment and recreation for example. Many businesses offer reduced costs (although some may specify certain off-peak hours) for entrance. As well restaurants and eateries offer discount meals at times.

Until just recently I had been paying full price on the train not even knowing that the city offered reduced off-peak hour passes that I qualified for. I was visiting the museum a while back and just by chance asked was there a discount and she said yes with I.D. . Only if I wanted to visit the specify sections was I require to pay full price.

Of course, you may be required to sit in steerage or limited seating area but the advantage is there if you choose to use it. I wish I'd had known then what I know now. Always ask.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:01 AM
  #22  
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I get a whole pile of emails about Amazon Prime, but I don't know what it is, so I've assumed it's spam and I delete them.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:23 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I get a whole pile of emails about Amazon Prime, but I don't know what it is, so I've assumed it's spam and I delete them.
Those might be spam or phishing attempts. I use specific email accounts for Amazon, PayPal, etc. If I get an email purportedly from them on the wrong email account I know it's fake.

And on the computer it's easier to check the actual sender and routing to determine whether it's authentic.

Amazon Prime is just an annual or monthly subscription for premium services and content. Books, movies, TV, music.

But I often found it lacking in movie selections. Amazon rarely gets good recent movies for Prime. They're a little better for TV, especially binge watching entire seasons or series.

And it's basically prepaying for shipping, unless you order a lot of physical products, especially in small lots. Then the free 2-day and same day shipping can be real bargains at $119/year, for folks who buy a lot of little things. I'm sure Amazon loses money on some items, like splitting up three items ordered simultaneously, shipping the cheapest item first rather than putting all items into the same box.

But they make up for it overall. Digital content is their real money maker.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:28 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Actually, those disabilities either individually or in combination can many times put you in a position for a reduction in cost.
Yup, I'm eligible for some discounts for age, veteran status and income (since I was unemployed most of 2018, between injuries and illness).

But Amazon doesn't offer a discounted Prime service for any niche I'm in.

And the annual fee isn't that bad. It's just not a good value for me right now. Maybe later.
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Old 01-04-19, 09:09 AM
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Just pay attention to what you are buying, who you are dealing with, does the item have free return shipping, price, and shipping time.

Way to much information. This should have been a remorse thread about Amazon.........
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