Shopping Discussion

Amazon now has "Prime Members Only" items?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 14th, 2017 9:53 pm
Deal Addict
Aug 10, 2013
1366 posts
267 upvotes
Toronto
Yes they are so sneaky!! I had some items in my cart ready to purchase and log in the next day and one of the items I wanted was marked amazon prime only. I think they wait until you put something in your cart to lure you into signing up for it. I had signed up in the past but because the shipping with prime took even longer than their regular shipping I cancelled it before the 30 days like most people do! So when I saw this item in my cart saying amazon prime only It wanted me to sign up again so I did using another credit card so I could get this specific item, and it made it look like I was signing up for another trial it never mentioned cost or anything just clicked a button and prime member, anyway checked my bank statement and they charged $90. I was able to get a refund and I love amazons customer service but man they can Be very sneaky!
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Newbie
User avatar
Feb 3, 2011
25 posts
7 upvotes
Montreal north shore
See, that's the problem. They were NOT like that before. They changed their approach.
Using Amazon used to be so simple.

For me it used to go really:
1. Find cheapest price... of course Amazon again (duh)
2. Buy (sold by Amazon)
3. Receive item in a record amount of time even on free shipping

Now it's more like
1. Find cheapest price... fewer times, it's Amazon
then
2. a) Add to cart: no can do, Prime-exclusive
2. b) Add to cart: shit that low price is only for Prime
2. c) Finally add to cart at a much higher price
then
3. Go through checkout... dammit I can only buy 1 at that price, I need 2, couldn't they just advertise that on the product page, I would have built my order somewhere else!!
Deal Addict
Feb 19, 2017
2662 posts
1473 upvotes
Vancouver
Amazon might be doing this because some of the benefits for Amazon Prime so they are offering other "benefits" to Prime members to replace AmazonBasic discount/20% off video game pre-orders/etc. The only reason i bought back Prime membership was for Prime Video and more 4k/hdr things to watch. I didn't renew my prime membership in the summer when it expired because there really wasn't a point (without the 2 benefits i mentioned above). You might get an item shipped slightly faster and don't need the $35 min but being realistic, getting to $35 min generally isn't easy and for the odd "prime only item" most of the time you can find it for the same price elsewhere or price match it pretty easily (if its sold elsewhere).

I took advantage of Prime shipping twice since renewing but considering i made 6 orders since black friday (all small), i probably could've stacked together orders if needed (i.e. usb3/ethernet adapter i bought was @ regular price but since i had prime i just ordered it by itself).
Deal Guru
Jan 7, 2002
14593 posts
6997 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
Part of the problem is that some items are only available to Amazon Prime customers. I needed a filter for the humidifier on my furnace. Here's what their search returns for a Honeywell HC26A filter and "This item, sold by Amazon, is currently reserved exclusively for Prime members." There's no option to buy this otherwise, even at a higher price. So it's off to Home Depot I go.

Note to Amazon: So far I have purchased absolutely nothing from you since September. Nothing. Not even over BF. And nothing planned for the foreseeable future, at least not until Amazon changes this policy.
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Banned
Nov 24, 2017
75 posts
48 upvotes
Costco does the same thing. Some online items are for members only. Yet, nobody in RFD has been complaining about it. I don't know why you make such a big deal out of it. Amazon is a business just like Costco.
Deal Guru
Jan 7, 2002
14593 posts
6997 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
NumberThree wrote:
Dec 13th, 2017 8:44 am
I don't know why you make such a big deal out of it. Amazon is a business just like Costco.
Costco has had a members-only policy since inception. If you found value in the membership fee you joined. If not you shopped elsewhere. In other words, the policy has been consistent.

By contrast Amazon never insisted on membership until recently. They're now trying to force people to Prime whether they find any value in it or not. I've looked at the purported benefits of Prime. I don't want or need their free media and storage. I get all that elsewhere. I usually buy more than $35 at a time so I get free shipping in any case. (Never mind that there's a lengthy thread on RFD about how Prime shipping offers no faster delivery times.)

That's why there's resentment, especially by long-time loyal customers like me who have no use for Prime and who see no value in paying $80/year for the "privilege" of being rail-roaded into joining.

In addition, some of us have gift card credits in our Amazon accounts that we'd like to spend. We can't do that on Prime-only merchandise. (By contrast even Costco lets non-members shop and pay with GCs.)


P.S. I just had a Chat session. Their "solution" is for me to get a "free trial" membership. But that's just trickery to get me to join and hopefully forget to cancel within 30-days. I won't play that game either since, as I keep saying, Prime is of no value to me.
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Deal Addict
Jul 24, 2009
4753 posts
4915 upvotes
Exactly, I don't see the value being a Prime for this "Prime Exclusive Item" and other benefits included in the Prime are unnecessary to me. It is nice to have, but not critical. Exclusive means you cannot find this somewhere else. Otherwise, you won't feel any special even you are a prime member. It can be the price exclusive or item exclusive (like Amazon Basic). If I can buy the same item at the same price level somewhere else, I don't see how exclusive this is for Prime. In a long run, it just forces me to shop somewhere else if I see more and more Prime exclusive items.
bylo wrote:
Dec 13th, 2017 9:08 am
Costco has had a members-only policy since inception. If you found value in the membership fee you joined. If not you shopped elsewhere. In other words, the policy has been consistent.

By contrast Amazon never insisted on membership until recently. They're now trying to force people to Prime whether they find any value in it or not. I've looked at the purported benefits of Prime. I don't want or need their free media and storage. I get all that elsewhere. I usually buy more than $35 at a time so I get free shipping in any case. (Never mind that there's a lengthy thread on RFD about how Prime shipping offers no faster delivery times.)

That's why there's resentment, especially by long-time loyal customers like me who have no use for Prime and who see no value in paying $80/year for the "privilege" of being rail-roaded into joining.

In addition, some of us have gift card credits in our Amazon accounts that we'd like to spend. We can't do that on Prime-only merchandise. (By contrast even Costco lets non-members shop and pay with GCs.)


P.S. I just had a Chat session. Their "solution" is for me to get a "free trial" membership. But that's just trickery to get me to join and hopefully forget to cancel within 30-days. I won't play that game either since, as I keep saying, Prime is of no value to me.
Banned
Nov 24, 2017
75 posts
48 upvotes
bylo wrote:
Dec 13th, 2017 9:08 am
Costco has had a members-only policy since inception. If you found value in the membership fee you joined. If not you shopped elsewhere. In other words, the policy has been consistent.

By contrast Amazon never insisted on membership until recently. They're now trying to force people to Prime whether they find any value in it or not. I've looked at the purported benefits of Prime. I don't want or need their free media and storage. I get all that elsewhere. I usually buy more than $35 at a time so I get free shipping in any case. (Never mind that there's a lengthy thread on RFD about how Prime shipping offers no faster delivery times.)

That's why there's resentment, especially by long-time loyal customers like me who have no use for Prime and who see no value in paying $80/year for the "privilege" of being rail-roaded into joining.

In addition, some of us have gift card credits in our Amazon accounts that we'd like to spend. We can't do that on Prime-only merchandise. (By contrast even Costco lets non-members shop and pay with GCs.)


P.S. I just had a Chat session. Their "solution" is for me to get a "free trial" membership. But that's just trickery to get me to join and hopefully forget to cancel within 30-days. I won't play that game either since, as I keep saying, Prime is of no value to me.
I understand your frustration. But I think you might be mistaken when you say Costco has always been consistent. I don't remember seeing online items for members only some 10-15 years ago. Please let me know if I'm wrong. Thanks.
Banned
User avatar
May 12, 2004
9759 posts
4084 upvotes
Ottawa
mach128x wrote:
Dec 12th, 2017 8:39 pm
It just makes me feel like Amazon sees me as a 2nd rank customer because I don't have a prime membership.
And I can tell you that it doesn't make me want to actually buy such a membership.
Agreed. I used to buy a ton of stuff from Amazon and no longer buy much from them. Before Prime I would place an order in the morning and it would be sitting on my porch the next morning. There was a xmas gift I needed that only they sold so I placed my latest order Sunday night. As of today it still has not shipped. Both items in stock expected delivery Dec 19th. The slowest Canada Post service doesn't take 8 days. If they can't put a box in the mail for me in a few days then I'm clearly 2nd rate.

They're trying to adopt an online Costco model and charge a membership fee but I doubt that will fly. I have a Costco membership already, not going to buy memberships for every retailer.

As it stands with Walmart.ca's selection, Amazon's underwhelming pricing, price fluctuations every hour (game of price roulette anyone) and slow service they're at the bottom of my list and I'll use them when I can't buy something elsewhere. They're making their bed...
Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.
- Mark Twain
Banned
User avatar
May 12, 2004
9759 posts
4084 upvotes
Ottawa
Unrelated but I just noticed they're selling Halloween candy at full price when every retailer in Canada liquidated theirs 6 weeks ago...I would expect better prices for the inconvenience of buying from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B074MJ ... 76011&th=1

https://www.amazon.ca/Hershey-Halloween ... ween+candy

https://www.amazon.ca/Halloween-Limited ... ween+candy

Makes you wonder if they're saving it to ship at full price for next near. Otherwise they might as well liquidate instead of wasting.
Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.
- Mark Twain
Deal Guru
Jan 7, 2002
14593 posts
6997 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
NumberThree wrote:
Dec 13th, 2017 10:04 am
But I think you might be mistaken when you say Costco has always been consistent. I don't remember seeing online items for members only some 10-15 years ago. Please let me know if I'm wrong.
1. While Costco may have an online presence, the vast majority of their business is conducted in bricks and mortar locations. The situation is exactly the opposite for Amazon. So a change in policy on costco.ca affects a very small percentage of their customers while amazon.ca's change in policy affects almost all of their customers. That's a huge difference in the magnitude of the effect of such a policy change.

2. AFAIK Costco has been consistent in requiring membership to shop at their primary sales channel, i.e. bricks and mortar locations. OTOH Amazon has recently begun offering certain merchandise only to Prime members. In the past the price may have been lower for Prime (e.g. 20% discount on AmazonBasics items) but everyone could buy the stuff. Put another way, Costco hasn't changed the membership restrictions on the sales channel used by the vast majority of their customers. But Amazon certainly has.

Hence the resentment that's targeted at Amazon but not at Costco.

Moreover, the way they're doing it--by not-so-subtle pressure to force currently loyal customers to join something they have no use for--further reinforces the sense of resentment. I suspect that if instead Amazon were to say something like, "as of [date] everyone needs to pay $xx/year to shop online at amazon.ca", there would be far less resentment.
Thanks.
You're welcome.
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[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
23606 posts
3930 upvotes
The odd thing is the item that inspired me to start this thread, it lost its "Prime Exclusive" status some time afterwards. Not exactly sure when but it was in December anyway. I added it to an order at that point and have already gotten it.

The item in question was actually the movie Coraline, 3D edition (3DBD, not the original w/anaglyph 3D):
https://www.amazon.ca/Coraline-Blu-ray- ... B004FM2F9I

The price did not change at all from when I saw it first, to when it was on "Prime Exclusive" for a couple weeks, 'till now. It's still the same $8.00 (and yes, incidentally it's actually cheaper than the non-3D version).

However I have noticed more random items coming up as Prime Exclusive, but it seems if you wait a while they tend to just go back to regular items? Perhaps it's just some glitch in their system because there's seemingly no reason for them to become Prime Exclusive items at all.

Next time I see a random one I'll try to remember to post it back here,
Moderator
May 28, 2012
9997 posts
2166 upvotes
Saskatoon
There's nothing I want from Amazon that badly that would make me buy a Prime membership. I was interested in some Rubbermaid laundry baskets but it's for Prime members only, oh well...I'll just buy it elsewhere.
Deal Guru
Jan 7, 2002
14593 posts
6997 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
ES_Revenge wrote:
Dec 14th, 2017 11:46 am
However I have noticed more random items coming up as Prime Exclusive, but it seems if you wait a while they tend to just go back to regular items? Perhaps it's just some glitch in their system because there's seemingly no reason for them to become Prime Exclusive items at all.
Another data point. The humidifier pad I linked upthread shows CDN$ 14.99 Prime Exclusive when I look at it from my account. But when I access that page in Chrome's Incognito mode it shows CDN$ 14.99 + CDN$ 12.98 shipping.

Now the crazy thing is that even if I was willing to pay for shipping, there's no Add to Cart button. The only option is to Try Prime for 30 Days. So why offer it with shipping extra when it's not possible to buy it that way?

Incidentally, in both cases the item is sold and shipped by Amazon so this isn't some third-party seller's issue.
Last edited by bylo on Dec 14th, 2017 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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