Kindle 'free trial' newsletter furor: Opt-out, or be charged

Amazon's latest move to auto-subscribe Kindle users to a newsletter is stirring anger in its discussion forums. Many are angered by the lack of clarity and communication from the retail giant.

Update: see below.

Kindle customers are flooding to Amazon's discussion forums with messages of anger and confusion, after the company said they would be automatically charged for a newsletter unless they opted-out.

The furor began when Amazon sent out the Kindle Compass, a newsletter for Kindle customers, which automatically subscribes its members to a 14-day free trial. Users must opt-out within that time frame or they will be "charged" for the subscription. already has a petition up.

Amazon's bi-weekly newsletter is to "keep updated the customer of Kindle", and also be updated of the "news and features", according to an Amazon customer service representative.

The representative also said the newsletter was, "sent for a trial to a random amount of Kindle users", but added: "There will be a charge if you do not unsubscribe in 14 days".

The email sent out either did not say how much users would be charged, or that it would cost "$0.00". One user spoke to another customer service representative who said, "there is no charge for it".

But another user said the charge was $2.25, adding to further confusion. "Not much, but it adds up especially if lots of people do nothing", the user said, adding: "I feel violated".

In a frank state of honesty, the customer service representative I spoke to said: "For now I don't have the info [sic] myself; which is a little inconvenient for the position I'm in today. But rest assured, you'll be properly notified of everything on time".

"It sure took us by surprise here at customer service", they said, shortly before signing off.

One user confirmed the automatic subscription to the newsletter:

"This is Amazon. I went to the link to see my subscriptions and there it is. It was easy to cancel and I got my confirmation email that it was cancelled, but I shouldn't have been signed up for this in the first place. I plan to reach out to various websites such as Consumerist, Gizmodo, Engadget, etc. to make sure that a firestorm is created over this extremely underhanded way that Amazon plans to make money."

Another user "had a chat" with someone in customer service. The full conversation can be found on the forums. More responses can be found here also, while other users are simply, "disgusted"

While the Amazon customer service representative said: "We try to make sure you are properly notified so there are no charges you may not be aware of resulting in angry customers", there is a clear lack of information out of the company regarding this matter.

Update: An Amazon spokesperson gave the following statement: "This morning we sent an email regarding The Kindle Compass, a new free publication built by the Kindle editorial team that we’re piloting to a small number of Kindle customers."

"This email incorrectly referred to The Kindle Compass as a subscription with a free trial. We built it to always be free for customers, and you will never be charged for it. We apologize for any confusion."

Image source: CNET.


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