Ad Alert

Amazon Prime’s Free One-Day Delivery

To actually get this perk, consumers may have to pay very close attention.


Ad Alert

Amazon Prime’s Free One-Day Delivery

UPDATE 6/23/23: The FTC this week filed a lawsuit against Amazon accusing it of using manipulative design features called “dark patterns” to trick millions of consumers into enrolling in Prime and then making it difficult for consumers to cancel their auto-renewing memberships. Our original article follows.

Amazon touts its Prime membership as a way to get free one-day delivery of over 20 million items.

But in order to actually get the advertised one-day delivery, consumers may have to pay very close attention during the checkout process. Allow us to explain.

Prime members searching the site for, say, “bandaids” will likely see several options, including the top hit – a “Best Seller” item – that can be delivered for free by “tomorrow.”

Prime members who are in a rush to get their desired products may click on “Buy Now,” which Amazon bills as “an express purchase option” that lets you check out quickly. Doing so, however, may change the delivery date to a later date without warning, like it did for some consumers who reported this issue.

Consumers who swipe the bright yellow bar to place the order without reading the black print with a new delivery date above it may be surprised when their product doesn’t arrive the next day.

Even consumers who don’t use Amazon’s “Buy Now” option and instead add the product to their cart may have to pay close attention, as clicking on “Add to Cart” brought our consumers to the following screen with a new (later) delivery date preselected.

Why, after touting Prime as a way to get products the next day and charging consumers $139 a year for this service, is the world’s largest online retailer playing games with consumers and its promised delivery dates?

In the preselected box with the later delivery date, Amazon states “Fewer boxes, fewer trips.” No doubt, this reduces the impact of such purchases on the environment, an issue that is also important to many consumers. But if Amazon is indeed trying to be eco-friendly, why not be clear about its intentions and delivery dates? Why sneak it in? Or maybe it’s not about the environment at all?

If you’re a Prime member and trying to get an Amazon product the next day, use caution during the checkout process. And if this has already happened to you, try calling Amazon directly to report the issue – we know of at least one consumer who was refunded her annual $139 Prime membership fee (and, at least for now, Amazon has stopped surreptitiously changing the delivery dates for her ordered items). reached out to Amazon for comment. Check back for updates.

Find more of our coverage on Amazon here.

Our Ad Alerts are not just about false and deceptive marketing issues, but may also be about ads that, although not necessarily deceptive, should be viewed with caution. Ad Alerts can also be about single issues and may not include a comprehensive list of all marketing issues relating to the brand discussed.

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