California Resident Sues Over Prime Video’s ‘Ad-Free’ Fees

Photo from Marques Thomas via Unsplash

California Resident Sues Over Prime Video’s ‘Ad-Free’ Fees

By Movieguide® Contributor

A California resident has brought a class action suit against Amazon Prime for its “deceptive” plan to run ads in all Prime Video programming.

“Wilbert Napoleon, who brought forth the lawsuit in the interest of all Amazon Prime customers said they were led to believe by Amazon’s ‘false and misleading’ advertisements that they would have ‘ad-free access to tv shows and movies,’ according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington state on Feb. 9,” USA Today reported.

“The change in terms, the lawsuit alleges, violates consumer protection laws in California and Washington which prohibits a company from engaging in ‘unfair’ or ‘deceptive’ business acts and practices,” USA Today said.

Napoleon renewed his Prime subscription in June 2023, ahead of Amazon implementing a $2.99 fee for ad-free streaming. Although he had already paid for his year-long subscription, Napoleon began seeing ads after Amazon’s policy change on Jan. 29, which he stated was “unfair.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Prime’s new fees:

Starting on January 29th, Prime Video users will now get ads while watching TV shows and movies unless they pay an additional $2.99 per month on top of their Prime subscription. Though the platform promises to feature “meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers,” this new addition will lead to incredible profits for the company.

Morgan Stanley predicts the company will generate $3.3 billion in Prime Video ad revenue during 2024, rising to $5.2 billion in 2025 and a staggering $7.1 billion in 2026. Analysts from MoffettNathanson are less optimistic, forecasting $1.3 billion for 2024 and $2.3 billion for the following year. Either way, Amazon will take a lion’s share of profit through this simple change.

All Amazon customers who paid for their subscription service before Dec. 28, 2023, are in the same boat as Napoleon.

“These subscribers already paid for the ad-free version; these subscribers should not have to pay an additional $2.99/month for something that they already paid for,” the complaint stated.

“In addition to being ‘unfair,’ the suit alleges that Amazon illegally benefited by advertising Prime Video as ‘commercial-free’ for years prior to launching its ad-supported tier, which ‘harms both consumers and honest competition,’” the Hollywood Reporter said.

Per PC Mag, Amazon declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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