An Argument Against Amazon Prime

As usual, Amazon is pushing its Prime service these days, offering a free monthlong trial. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable offer for heavy customers: pay $79 and you get free two-day shipping with no minimum order amount and overnight shipping for $4.

Blogging at LiveCheap, Omie Ismail says the service isn’t worth it because Amazon limits the items you can use the free shipping on, and also — as we’ve reported in the past — raises prices of certain items for Prime customers.

Omie also found another drawback:

After my experience with the non-Prime purchases, I found myself looking only at the Prime eligible items. Invariably, the Prime items carried a higher price tag especially at low price points. Items that were $8 from most vendors were $13 through Amazon.com. So I would get free 2 day shipping, but it was embedded in the price. Considering that I’d already paid for the shipping advantage by subscribing to Prime, it felt like I was taking money from one pocket and putting it in another.

Current and former Amazon Prime users, is Prime a good deal or a trap to exploit customer loyalty?

Amazon Prime: Is It Worth It? [LiveCheap]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. tbiscuit360 says:

    I think it is good if you buy a lot of books. Books on Amazon are cheaper than vendors and to get the free two day shipping would save lots (if lets say you buy 1 book per week)

  2. Mr_D says:

    My experience is that Amazon usually gets items here in 2 days with “Super Saver” shipping anyway, so Prime would be a waste of money.

    • milrtime83 says:

      It might get to you in 2 days from when it’s shipped. But from my experience, Super Saver shipping usually takes longer to process and I don’t get items until 5-7 days after I order them compared to the 2 day shipping which usually gets sent out right away the next day.

    • failurate says:

      I have never had a problem with Amazon’s free shipping. I usually get anything I order in 3 business days or less. I never have “urgent” purchases that would require me to overspend on shipping.

    • Daggertrout says:

      I’m still waiting for a pair of movies shipped on the 21st, estimated delivery on the 27th. Granted I know Thanksgiving was just a week ago, but really. I will laugh if the movie I ordered yesterday with the free Prime trial gets here before the other two.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      That depends on where you live. When we lived in Las Vegas, we were close to the distribution center in Sparks so we got stuff super-fast all the time and couldn’t figure out why anyone would pay for faster shipping.

      Now that we’ve moved to Austin, it takes a LOT longer for stuff to get to us. Also, I think they now deliberately delay more free standard shipping orders to entice people to prime. I just ordered four in-stock items and the estimated SHIP date is December 9. Based on recent orders, it will likely take a week or more after that to get to me.

      But I’m not going with Prime because I just plan early and buy well in advance of birthdays and Christmas. As in, that order completes my Christmas shopping, WOOT!

  3. bitslammer says:

    Very good … for Amazon. I see no benefit at all for 99.9% of consumers.

  4. hypnotik_jello says:

    It can be a good deal if you split it with 3 other people @ $20/person/month, but otherwise probably not. Also definitely buyer beware on the pricing and well, you should be pricing shopping anyways. It’s usually a good deal if I need something quickly. next-day shipping for a couple bucks is mostly a good deal depending on the item.

  5. diasdiem says:

    I pretty much signed up for the free trial when I bought something from Amazon that I wanted quickly, then canceled soon after.

  6. rdm says:

    I have had prime for 2-3 years and will never go back. All you have to do is check prices with their other vendors – it’s not traumatic at all. If I don’t need it in a hurry and non-prime vendor is cheaper, I do that. I am a pretty regular purchaser, though.

    • SScorpio says:

      I’m also a happy Prime user and while it costs money, getting in on deals can cost me less because I don’t need to worry about the $25 minimum free shipping.

      If you are worried about Amazon charging more for Prime users and you use Firefox. Grab the “Invisible Hand” add on which will automatically popup a bar at the top of your browser telling you prices at other sites. This lets you do a quick and easy price check to make sure you are getting a good deal.

    • ShadowFalls says:

      I dropped Prime myself when Amazon went and discontinued their price guarantee policy. That was the one thing that actually provided incentive to purchase items from them. After that, their overall customer relations went somewhat downhill.

  7. VA_White says:

    You have to be aware of the disadvantages and be willing to do your homework but in many situations, it’s a real money and time saver. I have Prime and it has saved me a lot of money, especially on gifts. Even if the gift I choose is $6.00 more on a Prime-eligible item, I can’t send a huge box of Lego across the country for less than $6.00. And when my husband is deployed (an average of four months every year) I can send him anything he needs through Amazon which is faster, cheaper, and more convenient than having Amazon send it to me only for me to box it all up again and schlep it to the post office.

  8. soundreasoning says:

    We use Amazon for almost everything and Prime has a couple of advantages: 1 we know and can track when stuff gets to us, which living in a big city (Chicago) where UPS won’t leave packages outside doors is great. It also makes sure we get stuff when ASAP. I always check the price on another Amazon account before buying, and now with fulfilled by amazon service for tird party vendors I have even more price choice. I guess if you’re a control freak about getting things in a particular amount of time and order probably 50 things a year from Amazon like we do, I’d say its worth it.

    Splitting it is a great idea it can be shared by I think up to five people and its then a lot cheaper 80 bucks a year total, so 20 bucks each for four people for the year, not a month.

  9. masso says:

    Signed up every time the free trial come up, but actually spending money on it? Not really. I can make do with 1-2 day of extra shipping (usually just 1 extra day). It’s not hard to fill Amazon with other stuffs like grocery to bring it to $25 for free shipping.

  10. elangomatt says:

    The only reason I would get prime is if they didn’t have the $25 free shipping. I almost never order anything from Amazon that I need right away.Granted, with the $25 minimum free shipping, I spend a little more sometimes than I intended, but it is usually for something I would have gotten soon anyway. Besides, with how quickly stuff usually makes it to me with UPS and USPS from Amazon, I usually end up getting it in 2 days anyway once it ships.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      I pretty much do the same thing you do but I just wait until I have around $50 worth of stuff that I’d really like to get before I place an order.

      Sometimes I wind up placing a couple orders a month and sometimes I got several months between making orders.

  11. MameDennis says:

    The free shipping is plenty fast for me. Several times, I have received items the day after I placed my order. (I live close to a bunch of hubs, which helps a bunch.)

    If I’m running into a true time crunch, I’ll pony up for the faster shipping, but that happens maybe once a year.

    • MameDennis says:

      Ugh, I’m saying “a bunch” a lot. Sorry!

    • CompyPaq says:

      Back home, I would often receive books next day, even if I ordered on Friday afternoon.

    • FatLynn says:

      I have always thought the same, but it depends what you are ordering. Popular items that are at most DC’s will arrive in a few days for me, but more obscure things can take up to two weeks. I’ve noticed that the free shipping now takes a few days to even leave the warehouse in some circumstances.

    • btrthnnothing says:

      Yeah, that’s true, I mostly order books and there’s an Amazon warehouse in Richmond that’s less than 10 miles away. I always get the books within 2 days once they ship them. With SuperSaver Shipping, it takes longer for the warehouse to pack the item than it does to arrive once it’s shipped.

  12. windycity says:

    Worth it if you just sign up for the free month trial ;-) That’s what I did last year and got all my Christmas gifts shipped out last minute. As I recall, they make it easy to cancel – I think you could set up your account so that it would not “renew” after the free month trial. I wouldn’t pay for it otherwise. It is rare that I need something right away and usually just let things accumulate in my cart until I’ve qualified for their free super saver shipping.

    • Sunshine1970 says:

      I did the same thing about two years ago. I remember keeping track of the date I signed up and then canceled before the free trial was over once my stuff shipped.

      I don’t think it’s worth it since I don’t use Amazon enough to warrant paying $79/year for faster shipping.

      I’m perfectly fine with the free 5-9 day shipping now. And usually my stuff comes faster than that anyway.

    • lihtox says:

      I signed up for the free trial a year or two ago, and accidentally missed the deadline to cancel. I wrote to them explaining the situation, and since I hadn’t used Prime after the deadline they gave me my money back. Pretty darn classy of them.

  13. [MG]LooseCannon says:

    Anything faster than the free shipping is just a “wanting it” tax. I did the Prime trial when it first came out (what, like 2 years ago?), and at the end of the month, I decided to wait and see if I ordered anything that I *absolutely had to have* in 2 days. Here we are 2 years later, and so far, nada. That’s $178 in savings in my pocket. Which, I might add, goes a long way towards covering the cost of the next item (if there is one) that I need in 2 days or less.

    Generally speaking, either I need something NOW – and source it locally – or it’s nothing I can’t wait a week or so to get.

    Lest you think I’m an “occasional” purchaser, so far this year I’ve placed 49 orders with Amazon.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      My mother uses the free 2-day shipping to get 25-book classroom sets of YA fiction novels when her school district informs her at the last second that, in fact, they did not order her books because they ran out of money but they totally forgot to tell her.

      None of the local bookstores are able to fill an order that large that quickly, and generally she needs them quickly in order to move on with the curriculum.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      On the one occasion I absolutely needed something RIGHT AWAY that I couldn’t get locally, btw, my mom sent it to me as a gift using Prime and I wrote her a check. Otherwise I’m a cheap bastard who only uses free super-saver shipping.

  14. twophrasebark says:

    and also — as we’ve reported in the past — raises prices of certain items for Prime customers.

    The article linked to says that’s not the case?

    “It’s clear to us, and we hope to Steve, that this is not a case of Amazon offering different pricing to members and non-members—instead, it’s a case of a third-party vendor simply offering a better deal.”

    I got attacked yesterday for pointing out stuff like this so, uh, I guess I’ll take the hit.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      Yeah, I have no idea why Phil would say that. I was actually shocked and dismayed until I got halfway through that article and the truth was revealed.

  15. Shadowman615 says:

    Amazon does not raise the price of items for Prime customers. That article you linked to just had Amazon selling at a different price than a 3rd-party seller (crutchfield, in this case).

    Yes, I’ve found Prime to be worth it. Amazon pretty much limits Prime items to those sold by Amazon — third-party sellers don’t count. But out of all the things I buy in a year from amazon, only a small percentage (less than 5%) are not covered.

    But I’ve found it’s great for pretty much whatever I buy. When I’m shopping for electronics or computer hardware, for example, I’ll usually search Newegg and a few other sites and comparison shop, but almost always end up buying from Amazon because it ends up costing less after factoring shipping. Even if the prices turn out to be the same (after shipping) 2-day shipping is usually better than regular shipping.

    Now there’s also the option for $6.99 same-day delivery, which is cool, but I doubt I’ll ever need that more than once or twice in a lifetime.

  16. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I personally love prime. I signed up last year for the free trial to save shipping costs on a heavy item that would have cost $25 to ship via ground I liked it so I paid for the year. Contrary to this article I have very rarely seen the case where a non prime item was cheaper at a 3rd party and when it is the ground shipping cost from the 3rd party usually exceeded the amazon prime 2 day shipping price. It’s really nice to know if I order something on Wednesday I’ll have it before the weekend. I guess if you don’t mind waiting a week for your items you can save the $79, but personally I love it.

  17. ash says:

    The one month free trial is awesome. I would not pay for Amazon Prime, but I’m perfectly willing to take 1 month of free priority shipping.

  18. dave says:

    Have it, love it. More often than not, I get the items the next day here in NYC.

  19. theSuperman says:

    I signed up for the free trial last year and forgot to cancel, so got unwillingly signed up for Amazon Prime. I think its been good to me though, as I have been purchasing a lot of items on there. Yes, third party vendors are sometimes cheaper, but they sometimes have absurd shipping costs. Othertimes, for example, an HDMI cable was $0.25 and shipping was $2.50, so the free Prime 2 Day shipping really didnt matter to me. In cases where items were a few dollars cheaper, the vendors would ask for $7 or $8 for shipping. So in reality, even with Amazon charging a few dollars extra for shipping, they are still cheaper than the 3rd party vendors.

    There have been times where I needed an item next day, so paying $3.99 extra (per item) for next day shipping is a good deal to me (I’ve probably used it a dozen times or so). I have also used Saturday Delivery (for $6.99 per item) a handful of times as well.

    In addition, from what I have seen, 99% of the items are sent UPS, not FedEx, as the article said. Also, why is the writer of the article saying it is $2 for next day delivery. I have never seen it at that price; it has been $3.99 an item for next day delivery for the past year. I found the article difficult to read and poorly written.

    I will probably allow my Prime membership to renew at the end of January. It has been a good deal for me.

  20. unpolloloco says:

    For most people, it’s not worth it. However, for a small minority it is because they buy lots of individual small items and/or want their items shipped faster. I’m not part of this minority, but I could see why someone could benefit from it.

    The higher price point is due to outside merchants selling through Amazon, not some kind of conspiracy. Usually, the cost with shipping included is about the same or lower through Amazon, but not always.

    In summary, Prime can be useful, but isn’t for most people (which is why you have to opt-in to the service).

  21. ALaterDayTD says:

    I used Amazon prime for about 2 hours. It was a great way to get free 2 day shipping on my order that I wanted quickly. As soon as it was confirmed, I cancelled the service. Instant free 2 day shipping on 1 order!

    • steveliv says:

      you do realize that the trial is for a month, and you can go to your settings and turn off auto-renewal…why cancel so early?

  22. sakanagai says:

    Most of what I buy is cheaper sold through Amazon than a third party seller. In the cases where that isn’t so, the cost of expedited shipping usually offsets the savings. If it is genuinely cheaper from someone else, I may go that route.

    I’m not sorry I spend the $79/yr fee since it provides something of a safety net for online purchases. In the same token as spending $13 instead of $8 to get a Prime-eligible item, you might spend more to pad your order to the $25 free Super Saver option. When Amazon did the $2 movies last week, I could buy them separately without reservation and no shipping cost (did they do a free shipping on all orders promo?). If I need something urgently, I can upgrade to overnight for $4 (or $7 for Saturday delivery) as opposed several times that from other retailers.

    One more thing to consider is the service quality and reliability of third party retailers on Amazon. Do they offer price matching or price guarantees? What are the terms of their return policy? Are they easy to contact? Where do they ship from? Have they had good reviews? I haven’t had much trouble in the cases where I’ve had to file an A-to-Z claim, but dealing with Amazon directly has consistently been easier.

  23. kmw2 says:

    I’m an Amazon Prime user, have been since they started the program. I buy 20-30 books/semester on it (probably totalling 100+/year including Christmas gifts and so on). It’s absolutely worth it to me because I can just order a book, instead of trying to arbitrage my way into free shipping, so it works out cheaper. (One $12 book I need is cheaper than one $12 book I need and one $13 book I don’t need!) It wouldn’t be if I wanted to buy furniture or something, but, um, I don’t!

  24. jonathanwthomas says:

    I live in a state that has an Amazon distribution center in it (well across the border in Kentucky) along with a UPS hub, so I get any order pretty much the next day paying regular shipping costs. So, yeah, Amazon Prime is not always the best deal, depending on where you live.

  25. Vynn says:

    Personally I love Amazon Prime – where I really find it to be useful is with their recently (in the last year or so) added “Release Day Delivery” – if you have prime, it’s free, otherwise it costs the same as 1 day shipping.

    I order tons of video games, books, and movies for work and being able to get them sooner gives me a few extra days with the products. Usually the free prime 2day delivery arrives overnight anyway to my location (Cary, NC) and I make enough orders per year that prime costs less than paying for any of the expedited delivery.

    Prime certainly isn’t for everyone, but I’ve found it to be quite practical for my needs.

    • Vynn says:

      I was going to add, I ordered a media equipment rack from amazon the other day; shipping weight is ~100lbs.

      I got it shipped 2 day through prime, it arrived overnight, and it didn’t cost me anything extra to ship; the same shipment through UPS ground is quoted at just shy of $70.

  26. dcfix says:

    I live in Montana and I love Amazon prime. For me, living out here in the sticks, Amazon offers a large selection and great customer service. We have a Borders here, but who wants to pay msrp for a book? It has also curbed my impulse purchasing. When I see something that I want, I go to Amazon and actually read the reviews before I buy it. I’d say a good 30% of the time I either decide to not buy it or find a better alternative.

  27. wooties says:

    Amazon Prime can be very much worth the $80 bucks subscription. For me it is invariably.

    It boils down to how much online shopping you do. And yeah, of course there are occasions where the non-prime eligible items are less expensive, it’s not hard to calculate in the potential shipping costs into the equation for whatever you’re shopping for.

    I shop enough at Amazon that it’s paid for itself time after time. It saves me from having to go to brick and mortar stores and deal with tax and people (..eek, people!). It’s super convenient too, $4 next day has saved me on more than one occasion.

  28. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    I’ve been a Prime member for a few years now. I’m closing in on 100 orders this year. I’m pretty confident in saying that if Jesus was ordering something off the Internet, he’d use Amazon Prime. Third party sellers usually aren’t cheaper than Amazon when you add in their shipping fees. Sometimes they are, and in those cases you can choose between fast shipping and saving a few dollars. In most cases you get fast shipping AND you save a few dollars.

  29. Keavy_Rain says:

    Free release-date shipping for games makes Prime worth it.

    Also, I’ve had a few times where I’ve ordered an item early in the day, used Prime two-day, and had the item show up the next day.

  30. breny says:

    I LOVE my Amazon Prime. I order things all year long that are under the $25 Super Saver shipping requirement. It’s great not to have to worry about finding something to “round up” my order.

    During the holidays it’s great to be able to order last-minute items and not pay high costs for next-day shipping.

    I added up my Amazon shipping costs for the previous year before I chose to get Prime. I definitely saved money last year, and I renewed this year.

  31. boutwell says:

    It’s really a shame that you disparage the Prime service this way when in your own [linked] article you admit that Amazon was not gouging, but rather at third party offering a better price and free shipping.

    I just renewed my second year on Prime and have saved hundreds of dollars with it.

  32. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I’ve used Amazon Prime since they made it available to me (five years now?). I noticed that Amazon’s prices for goods eligible for Prime used to be equal to or better than good deals offered at other sites or in retail stores. I used to buy lots of electronics and gifts through them. No more… Amazon now appears to roll much of the cost of shipping into their prices, so they are rarely the best deal out there. I still use Prime, but I do a lot more price research before shopping at Amazon. They may make money off my Prime subscription, but they’re losing it on total sales volume.

  33. osiris73 says:

    I love it. I troll their daily deals and other specials and buy piddly things. I bet I have a box, on average, delivered every other day to my house from Amazon. For example, they had a DVD on sale for $2.00 the other day. I hadn’t seen it before, and it was cheaper than buying it or renting it… so why not? The next day I had a new DVD for $2.00. I’ve sooooo completely cost them far more money than my Prime membership cost. I’m one of those who bus stuff to justify having spent the $79 on Prime. I never pay MORE than I would have spent somewhere else though. If something costs $100 on Amazon and I have free 2nd day shipping and something costs $90 elsewhere with $10 standard shipping, I always go for the Amazon deal. Why not?

    They achieved their goal with me. Almost everything I buy online, I now get from Amazon.

  34. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t think this service is a good value for me, while I do shop online A LOT there are other retailers that offer free shipping with no minimum and often match the prices of Amazon. I love amazon but I don’t shop with them all that much, not enough to justify prime. Its easier for me to add a $5-10 item or sometimes less in order to get to the $25 required for free shipping or just wait till I need a few things and order all at once. It wouldn’t make sense for me to pay $79 to get prime just so I could get single items quicker. Even if I had to add a $5 item to every order to get free shipping I don’t think it would add up to $79 per year to justify prime.

  35. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I started ordering gifts off Amazon right after Thanksgiving. The last of my gift orders shipped yesterday, and it has an estimated delivery date of Dec. 14. The problem with regular free super saver shipping is that at this point, if you put in your order, you’re probably going to get hit with a delay. I bought two blu-ray discs the day after Thanksgiving and they still haven’t shipped.

    I’m seeing this across the board with things I’ve ordered since Thanksgiving. Prime would have been very helpful, since even if it took a while to actually ship, I would get it in three days. But at this rate, if packages don’t ship for another week, then it takes 4 to 7 days to deliver, I might not have much time before Christmas.

  36. Bob Lu says:

    If Prime is a good deal or not can be arguable, bit this Omie’s post totally missed he point.

    While the prices of Prime eligible items are usually higher than othr venders, othr venders usually DO CHARGE shipping fee. In most of the case Amazone price is still the better one.

    But this is not even important: Prime is NOT about free shipping! Nearly all Prime eligible itme is also eligible for free ground shipping over $25 anyway. What Prime offers is free *Two-day shipping without minimum*.

    So how do you value Prime really depends on you. For me I don’t mind waiting for the stuff I ordered for a week, and I can always find something to pad my order over $25, so Prime is worthless for me. However if you are the kind of people who always want something, NOW, Amazone Prime can be one of the best thing in the world.

  37. vladthepaler says:

    The problem with amazon’s shipping in general is that customers can’t choose the shipping method, only the estimated shipping time. That might sound good in theory, but in practice, amazon uses a lot of different shippers, some of which are good at getting things delivered on time and some of which are not. Amazon doesn’t let me tell it not to use a shipping method that’s known to be unreliable.

  38. Winter White says:

    I love amazon prime. I just got it recently and being able to randomly order small things and not pay shipping/tax is perfect. I ordered a $13.99 that everyone else wanted $7 to ship.

    I’ll continue to use it, especially since I split with my parents so it’s only $40/yr for me.

    • pervy_the_clown says:

      Exactly. I have the free trial and I’m strongly considering purchasing it for the next year. I was looking around for a new book to read. Found one on Amazon, used, since it’s not in print anymore. $3.00+$4.99 shipping, but there were 2 that were $3.91+eligible for prime. So instead of 8 bucks, I paid 4. It’s nice to just get the price and get it quickly too.

  39. meadandale says:

    I completely disagree with his first point. I remember exactly the point in time where I got amazon prime. I’d ordered a new phone through Amazon and was cheap so I selected the free shipping option. 10 days later the phone still had not arrived and after phoning them I was told that it was gonna take another 5 days to get there.

    Free Super Saver Shipping is entirely at the discretion of Amazon. It will get there when it is convenient for Amazon to move the product between warehouses.

    I’m more than happy to pay a small fee for the year to get 2 day shipping on virtually anything that I buy.

    As to the other points, yes that means that I often won’t buy a product if it isn’t eligible for Prime. This is often the case with Amazon partners. However, this is a good thing. I got burned a few years ago when I bought a bunch of Christmas presents through Amazon affiliates, not realizing that each product came from different affiliates and carried it’s own shipping policies. I ended up spending around 50% of the cost of the presents that I purchased on shipping (many of the items were around $5-20).

    • Segador says:

      Exactly. Amazon doesn’t police or accept responsibility for their affiliate’s shipping policies. They could take 4 days, or they could take 6 weeks. It’s totally hit-or-miss. With Prime, I’ve never had it take more than 2 business days.

  40. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    Another happy Prime customer here. I have been using it for years, for DVDs, books, cameras, TVs, etc. I comparison shop still, but usually end up coming back to Amazon unless I find a hands down better deal. For certain items, like computer components, it makes more sense to hit a place like Newegg. For others, even if the cost is a little more at Amazon, the lack of shipping, two day turn around, and a complete order history is worth the price of admission.

    Amazon keeps track of my purchase history, reminding me if I bought something before (helping the forgetful avoid buying the same book twice!). I think it is incredibly valuable to those that would rather buy online then brave the crowded real world stores.

  41. applesuffs says:

    Personally for me Prime is the best thing going at Amazon. No sales tax (yet), cheaper than any B&M, $4 next day shipping…how can you go wrong?

  42. driver905 says:

    I am actually pretty happy with using Prime, although I do notice that it does its job in getting me to choose Amazon over buy.com when the free shipping makes the price difference. I originally thought the price would not be worth it, until I learned the best part about about prime is that one membership can be shared between 5 different people, which makes the price much more reasonable.

  43. portishead69 says:

    I like it cause you can share it with up to 4 family members…

  44. humphrmi says:

    I signed up last year with some deal where the shipping savings on a heavy big-ticket item I was about to purchase pretty much covered the cost of the year of Prime. And, because of the timing, I still have my Prime membership during the holiday shopping season this year, which has saved me even more. I don’t specifically chose products that qualify for Prime, and if I find the item lower priced at a reputable seller elsewhere, I go there.

    I think the key word here is “reputable”. I’ve seen some pretty shady deals, like where Brooklyn camera outfits super-lowball the price. But when you google their name… lots of problems. So basically, yeah… I’ll pay a slightly higher price at Amazon and know I won’t have any problems whatsoever… and I’d do that without Prime anyway.

    Overall, I’ve been happy with it. I don’t know if I’m going to renew it for another year, but if you have a year in which you plan to purchase expensive-to-ship items, it’s pretty much worth it.

  45. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Actually, sometimes I use Prime when I know I need something in a day or two and can’t waste a few hours going from store to store to see if they have one. I invited my work team over for dinner Sunday and I need a programmable slow cooker. Ordered it three hours ago with two-day Prime shipping; it has already left the building and is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. Whoa.

  46. ben says:

    Ugh. Other people have already mentioned this, but please correct the post. Amazon does not raise the price for Prime customers. The free shipping is just limited to items sold directly by Amazon. Sometimes Amazon has more expensive prices than third party sellers, but often I’m willing to pay a slight premium because I trust Amazon more than some random company (even if they’re selling through Amazon.) Therefore, Prime still has an advantage in those situations, because with or without Prime, I’d be buying directly from Amazon, and at least with Prime, I get the free shipping.

    Plus, Prime is not extremely expensive if you do a lot of shopping at Amazon, especially since you can split the cost among several family members.

    • Taliskan says:

      I have been using Prime for quite a while (couple of years at least), and everything you said is true. I rather pay a few bucks extra to get it directly from Amazon than work through one of their third-place marketplace resellers. At least through Amazon I can return items easily, through third-party folks, who knows.

      I get a lot of books, games, and movies from Amazon so the 2-day shipping is a real nice perk. The fact that I share it with my family members and we split the cost makes it an even better deal for us.

  47. jdmba says:

    Amazon has been a disaster for me. Their prices fluctuate minute by minute to match other online retailers, but they will add in the tax of those retailers, to make their product price match theirs, but with free shipping. Then there is the mandatory “Amazon Punishment Period”(tm), a phrase I made up to cover the 5 days they will sit on any free shipping order before they actually ship it (note: DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE EMAIL THAT IT SHIPPED, if you go to USPS and track, you will see that they only sent a notice to the post office, they did not actually ship it).

    Of course, on top of this, is the ever present “sold by”, which never carries free shipping and I have personally had experience with one of those merchants I would never buy direct from (those sleeze balls who sell low, but then refuse to ship if you dont take part in an upsell) when buying from Amazon. Amazon said it wasn’t their problem.

    I recently decided to give Amazon one more chance, and ordered a flash drive. They shipped UPS to the post office (or some such sillyness). The post office made 1 delivery attempt, to a business, at 5AM on a Saturday, and then told me I had to go pick it up.

    As far as I am concerned, there is always better than Amazon.

    • pjfranke says:

      As you say, the “”Amazon Punishment Period”(tm)…the 5 days they will sit on any free shipping order before they actually ship it” has been reason enough for me to consider buying Prime, and the same thing that’s held me back from ordering many things from Amazon. I can’t stand ordering something, paying my money, and then having to wait a week or two for it to arrive with “Free shipping”. I would rather not spend the money, or get it locally and spend more.

      One of these days I’ll get around to adding Prime to my order (already used the trial) and watch the packages start coming.

  48. lemur says:

    A few years ago, I used Amazon Prime for a year. I need to order books fairly regularly. But some of the books I need are not sold by Amazon because they deal with topics too specialized for the general public.

    After a year, I looked back on all my orders at Amazon (including things other than books). I computed prices and compared with what I would have had to pay if I had not used Amazon Prime. I ordered a lot that year so I came a little bit ahead but I found that in most years, I’d be losing money with Amazon Prime. It was just better for me to be patient with the orders I did not need right away and pay the shipping fees for the orders I needed really quickly.

  49. Bagumpity says:

    Shipping’s dirty little secrets:

    1. Never pick overnight or 2-day unless you ACTUALLY NEED the item that soon. Most of the time, you’ll get your stuff sooner than the “2-3 weeks” they scare you with to prevent you from using the free/low-cost shipping.

    2. Never pick the “AM” overnight option unless you ACTUALLY NEED the item in the morning. Chances are, they’ll have other stuff going to your location in the AM, and it’s more cost effective for them to put your stuff in the same truck.

    3. When you DO need the item urgently, don’t count on it getting there as advertised. If there only 2 packages with the “by 10:30″ delivery option and 30 without, they’ll throw the “urgent to you but not to them” packages on the afternoon truck and risk having to refund the shipping fee. Oh, and they’ll making getting a refund as difficult as possible so you are less likely to try.

  50. chgoeditor says:

    I used Prime for a couple months last year when they had a free trial. Ultimately, I decided not to pay for the renewal because I was disgusted by the waste involved. Amazon already gets a lot of grief for their wasteful packaging. Prime encourages you to buy on whim without offering any incentive to group purchases so they can be packaged together. I was annoyed with myself when I saw how much shipping trash my Amazon Prime orders generated.

  51. nick_r says:

    Think it depends on where you live. I live in L.A., and even most of my SuperSaver items come within two days (sometimes even next-day), but my parents in Massachusetts will often wait several days for standard shipping, so it makes sense for them to use Prime. The fact that it’s shareable makes it even better.

    Most of these so-called “tricks” don’t ring true to me, but the one shenanigan of which they *are* guilty is automatically selecting next-day shipping when you order something, and making you manually switch it back to two-day to avoid paying extra.

    • feckingmorons says:

      I don’t see that problem about having to change to two day. Perhaps it is a cookie, I use an unusual browser K-meleon, and I never have that problem.

      I do see one additional benefit, that if I switch from 2 day, to standard 3-5 day shipping everything has come USPS, which I prefer to UPS for a myriad of reasons. If I get something shipped to the office I can use 2 day as there is always someone in the mail room to sign for it. If I get things shipped to my home USPS can place them securely in the mailbox without my signature.

  52. jeremymiles says:

    Commenters! Read TFA before writing. Amazon prime isn’t the same as free delivery on items over $25.

    Anyway, I love Amazon prime. It means that all kinds of small things, that would require a trip to the store are one-click (sorry) away. I can buy batteries or toothpaste or a ream of paper or a CD – it saves me a huge amount of time wandering around stores.

    I find the delivery consistently happens within 2 days (maybe that’s because I live in a biggish city though) – almost every day when I get home, there’s an Amazon parcel on the doorstep. (Yesterday, there was a Chinese Checkers game, and a phone).

    Yes, it wastes a bit of packaging, but I recycle it, and I waste a lot of gas driving to the store. Just because you can’t see the pollution you produce doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  53. Segador says:

    I’ve used Prime for over a year now, and haven’t noticed any price increases on items I’ve ordered. All in all, it’s been a great experience. Many non-Amazon vendors offer the items for a lower price point, but nearly all of them have shippings costs that would drive the item well above the Prime price, and take days longer. I’m also more comfortable dealing with Amazon directly than a subsidiary vendor, should I need to return an item or change an order.

    I checked my friend’s non-Prime login, and wasn’t able to find any items that were higher on my Prime login. Bottom line: I’ve found Prime to be convenient, reliable, and a good deal.

  54. coren says:

    You keep linking that article…I do not think it means what you think it means

  55. ke5crz says:

    i don’t think they “pad” prices to include shipping i think that is just their markup on the item. i do however believe they have an algorithm that adjusts the pricing slightly on items they think they might be able to sell you.

  56. alisonann says:

    I share my Amazon Prime with my family, and we’ve gotten a ton of use out of it. Very happy with the service.

  57. The Commenter Formerly Known as StartingAces says:

    Not to be a broken record, but the “Prime Eligibility” just means it is shipped by Amazon. Many of those competing prices are fulfilled by Marketplace stores that are slow and don’t offer particularly good customer service (I feel like I am burned nearly every time I use marketplace).

    I split Prime with my family, so it only costs me $17, which is not bad for 12 months of getting items within 2 days from a company I’ve never had a major issue with.

  58. outlulz says:

    I’ve never seen a price increase on Prime items. Some vendors may make their price cheaper than Amazon’s price but that doesn’t mean they don’t charge $8 for media mail shipping. Amazon Prime saved my butt once with cheap Saturday shipping for a text book I needed after I was scammed on Half.com.

    It’s gotten even better recently with video games. On top of Amazon’s steep discounts they also have offer delivery on ship date, when most stores won’t receive it for another day.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I bought the last two Harry Potter books from them with guaranteed release date shipping. Both times the shipper said they had attempted delivery when they hadn’t. Amazon had used some kooky UPS-to-mail technique for it. Funny how they are the only ones I’ve ever seen use this technique. I couldn’t even get the shipping money refunded because it I used Amazon Prime.

      • selianth says:

        For the last 2 Harry Potter books, they offered free shipping to *anyone* who pre-ordered, so it wasn’t just because you used Prime that they had no shipping cost to refund. As far as the shipper-to-USPS method, drugstore.com and woot.com also use it regularly. I wouldn’t be surprised if other high-volume online stores do as well.

  59. upsidedown09 says:

    I’m an Amazon prime member and found that the service does payoff if you buy over a curtain amount in a given year from Amazon. For me, the service pays for it’s self about half way through the year leaving me 6 months of free shipping. Does Amazon raises prices? Not that I noticed. Like others noted, if the Amazon price is higher than a merchants price, always add up how much shipping is with the merchant. 99% of the time Amazon ends up being cheaper. Again, this service is only beneficial if you purchase often like over 8 times a year.

  60. crichton007 says:

    Was this ever verified to be the case that the price was higher for the actual Amazon item or just compared to other vendors selling the same thing? I’ve never felt ripped off and I’ve had Prime for 3 years (just starting my 4th).

  61. Eric1285 says:

    I love my Prime membership. I’m on my 3rd year of it. I place about 30 orders a year with Amazon, usually because they have the best price on whatever it is I’m trying to buy. The 2 day shipping usually gets to me by the next day if I place my order before early afternoon.

  62. krom says:

    I would chide Consumerist for a very poor bit of reporting here, but last time I did that, my account was frozen from commenting.

    But it’s pretty clear that this post is full of fail. For starters, it repeats a long-ago-debunked story about alleged differential pricing, when in fact the linked story is deceptive; it compares the same item being sold by two different vendors, one which is Amazon and the other a third party which *uses* Amazon’s website to sell but does its own shipping. And the free shipping from Crutchfield is Standard shipping, not Prime’s free 2-day air, and only works for purchases over $249.

    One of Ismail’s points is that Super Saver ground shipping doesn’t take much longer for him than 2-day. Well, lucky for him he lives close to an Amazon warehouse (LA, based on the site’s phone number). Most of America likely does not. That’s some serious YMMV.

    Ismail suggests that Prime is a poor value because you can already get free shipping if you get more than $25 per order. So he suggests you just always buy at least $25 worth of stuff. Um — really, Consumerist? Is that what we advise consumers to do — buy extra to get the deal? That’s the first time I’ve seen Consumerist advocate (albeit indirectly) taking advantage of minimum-purchase deals. Minimum-purchase deals encourage unnecessary spending — you buy things you weren’t planning to buy to get the deal — and that’s why those deals exist!

    Ismail complains he stopped comparison shopping because he felt like he needed to use his Prime. Well, that’s his bad habit. It’s as if he stopped comparison shopping so that he could occasionally get a bad price through Amazon and then eventually be able to write Yet Another Amazon Sucks Story.

    Finally, the Consumerist post is horribly disingenuous by saying “Amazon limits the items you can buy with Prime.” No, not really. It’s just that Amazon only offers the free 2-day prime shipping (and don’t forget the discounted flat rate on 1-day shipping!) on items that it stocks and ships from its own warehouses, where it can control shipping and other costs, and doesn’t apply it to (most) Marketplace vendors whose shipping rates may vary widely. And as a matter of fact, the exact same thing is true with Amazon’s non-Prime Super Saver free ground shipping — so sorry Ismail, but that’s a non-starter. Also, an increasing number of third-party-sold items are being “Fulfilled by Amazon” including electronics and other goods.

    Amazon appears to be Consumerist’s new Bank of America — the company they will go to any length to unfairly target and muddle the facts to defame.

    • r081984 says:

      I have had like 3 accounts blocked for telling it like it is.
      I never had a problem before consumer reports bought them.

    • humphrmi says:

      You make a very good point about one benefit of Prime: buy a $5 book, or even a $2 gidget, and it’s here tomorrow, with free shipping. You don’t have to buy $25 worth of books and gidgets. I myself have been taken in by some retailer’s “free shipping with $X order…” and ended up spending more than I planned.

      Full disclosure: I’m a Prime member, and very happy with it.

    • tbax929 says:

      Thank you! Prime isn’t for everyone (the occasional shopper is better off without it). I got Prime when I was in college and buying a lot of books and supplies from Amazon. I’ve kept it since because I still buy most of my books, CDs, and gifts from Amazon. It pays for itself by the fourth month of the year.

    • Groovymarlin says:

      I have to agree with what you’re saying in support of Prime. (The comment police on Consumerist I can’t address, since I don’t know about that – and I hope I don’t find out! ha)

      I have Prime, and it’s totally worth it for me. I order lots of things – books, DVDs, electronics, toys and clothes for my toddler, household appliances (sewing machine, vacuum cleaner), closet organizers, computer parts, etc. The money I have saved on shipping by having Prime is way more than the cost of the membership itself. And I shop very carefully – I do occasionally buy things from other online stores, if the overall deal (including price AND shipping cost) is better. But in my experience, I get the best prices most of the time (at least for the things I buy) from Amazon.

      Not sure where Consumerist’s distrust of Amazon comes from. In my opinion, they’re one of the better e-tailers.

    • coren says:

      The flip side of that is suggesting people pay 80 dollars to get shipping instead. I don’t know about you, but my habits are certainly such that it’s cheaper to find a filler item than it is to plunk down the 80 dollars..

    • MagicJewball says:

      Perfectly stated. I love Amazon Prime. I’m in school and every time the professor says, “oh by the way, I’ve added this book to the syllabus, please read it by next week,” I can order from Amazon and have it in two days without adding an additional $10-$15 of merch I don’t need. For $4 I can have it tomorrow. Time is important to me and not having to run out and buy every single item is fantastic.

      It’s also an amazing deal for bulk groceries. I can buy food by the case or contact lens solution in 3 packs and it arrives in two days, all included in my $79 no matter what the weight. Living in NYC without a car, this is an incredible thing.

      And yes, I do shop around, but often times I just need what I need in a short amount of time and just don’t have the hours in my day to take the subway to Barnes & Noble and then to the grocery store and then to Bed, Bath, and Beyond…. Amazon sells everything and at great prices with great customer service. They have made any bad situation I’ve had good and treated me with respect. I really can’t say that about a lot of places and judging by what I read on Consumerist, I don’t think I’m alone.

    • ztut says:

      Krom has it right.

      Phil, terrible way to mention the previously debunked idea that Amazon raises prices for Prime customers, without mentioning the fact that the linked story was a Amazon market vendor offering a cheaper price. Amazon market vendors ARE NOT Amazon.

      Prime is worth it if you order online alot. I buy all my books on prime (2-3 a month at different dates, so they don’t qualify for free shipping). I also do almost all my Christmas shopping on Amazon. I tend to place lots of small orders through the year that are

      Also a big plus is that you are allowed to share with family. This reduces the cost dramatically.

    • KLETCO says:

      What is interesting is that I signed up for Prime about 45 minutes before reading this story. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and finally decided it was worth it. I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, and Prime is best for me because I sometimes find myself looking for birthday gifts fairly last minute. As it is, if you use regular free shipping (with a $25 purchase), it will usually take a lot longer to arrive and I end up paying for shipping anyway to get it on time. Yes, sometimes it comes in 2 days (like the OP said), but most of the time, it doesn’t for me. And I don’t have a mall that is convenient for me.

      When I found out that I could include 4 family members for free, even better.

  63. nodaybuttoday says:

    I tried Prime Amazon for the free trial and felt it wasn’t worth it either. I was mistaken and thought the free shipping was for ALL items and since I can easily spend $25 a shot on Amazon and get free shipping anyway, it just didn’t seem worth it.

  64. trujunglist says:

    2nd day shipping doesn’t seem worth it when my orders already only take 2 days to get to me. If I need something RIGHT AWAY then I’ll go buy it at a store anyway.

  65. Giolon says:

    Phil, did you read your own linked article? In the other case, Amazon did not raise the price of the TomTom unit for the Prime customer. The person seeing it for cheaper had a different default 3rd-party company providing the unit – the person with Prime can choose that company from the right hand menu (as well as see all the prices available). The person with Prime sees Amazon’s offer by default, probably b/c they can say “hey you get free shipping!”.

    See Chris’s statement: “It’s clear to us, and we hope to Steve, that this is not a case of Amazon offering different pricing to members and non-members—instead, it’s a case of a third-party vendor simply offering a better deal.”

    Let’s try to be a little less sensationalist shall we?

    All of that said, I love my Amazon Prime membership. Every year when that $80 charge rolls around I kind of grumble, but for the entire rest of the year whenever I place an order I get my stuff usually in a single day, at no “extra” cost. Amazon also doesn’t limit the items you can use free shipping on. You can only use free shipping on items that Amazon is selling – not third parties. I hardly expect Amazon to force its 3rd party vendors to offer free shipping if you’ve paid Amazon some extra cash. That doesn’t make any sense.

  66. groale says:

    Its absolutely worth it for me. Been using it for years. And not only me, with the membership you can invite up to four other family members to use your account for free. Of course there are multiple options to buy something from Amazon and they have multiple prices. I have never felt I was getting a jacked up price because I was using Prime. And my wife reads a book a week. Every book she buys comes via Prime and at the lowest price. Money well spent.

  67. LoneHighlander says:

    I think you all might have sold me on Amazon Prime. What was the original post about again…?

  68. theblackdog says:

    Prime came in handy for me earlier this year when I was in a play because we could order needed props through my account and it would be here in two days rather than nearly a week. Plus it is still one of the first stores I look at when I go online shopping, so I’ll milk it for all it’s worth.

  69. iceeblue says:

    Wow from the title of the post. I never expected to read the comments and leave wanting a Amazon Prime Account.

  70. Crazytree says:

    $2.99 overnight shipping can’t be beat… especially for expensive items that I can’t wait to get my hands on!

  71. ridbaxter says:

    I recently let my Prime membership run out after having it for 3 years because I divided the number of Prime shipments into the cost of the subscription and found I was paying $7/shipment. Over the last year or so a good number of items I’ve purchased via Amazon were only available through 3rd party sellers, few of which offer Prime-eligible shipping.

    For anyone who is like me: seems to be ordering from Amazon all the time but buying quasi-obscure stuff, it’s worth running the numbers each year at re-up time to make sure the subscription is still a good value for you.

  72. oldgraygeek says:

    I have seen cases where Amazon’s prices — as compared to prices on other Web sites or prices Amazon offers through other vendors — are higher. I usually find that the “free” two-day shipping makes up for the difference: they sent me an 80-lb drill press with no shipping charges, and that whupped their competitors.
    I have never encountered a case where they quoted a lower price to a non-Prime member. I frequently delete my cookies and log in after pricing an item; logging in has never changed a price.
    We get our money’s worth from Amazon Prime, and we plan to keep it.

  73. dollywould says:

    I’ve just activated my Prime account, which I’m sharing with my brother. I find myself often finding something I really don’t need just to add up to $25 for free shipping. Now I will have more freedom to buy what I want, when I want. This may be a bad thing. A very, very bad thing.

    Also, yay! My first comment on the new site. Looks great, guys!

  74. Segador says:

    More appropriate title now seems to be: “An argument against Amazon Prime, and 98 arguments for it.”

  75. KrispyKrink says:

    I’ve never felt compelled to use Prime. Everything I order comes out of their Nevada warehouse and takes no more than 2 days to arrive with standard shipping.

  76. jeblis says:

    I had Amazon Prime for a year, almost everything I wanted to buy didn’t qualify.

  77. H3ion says:

    We usually use the super saver shipping where we don’t pay anything for shipping. There isn’t much we buy from Amazon that we can’t wait a while to receive. If we used their two-day shipping regularly, then we might want to reconsider Amazon Prime. Otherwise, it’s not much of a bargain.

  78. Spinfusor says:

    If you need or want fast shipping, Prime is a great deal. Amazon’s regular two-day and one-day shipping rates (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_navbox_lnship_rates?nodeId=468636) are fairly expensive when compared to Prime. I signed up last year when I needed some camera equipment delivered quickly, and two-day shipping would have cost me about $35. I figured I’d sign up for Prime and enjoy “free” fast shipping for the next year. Even counting only the times I needed two-day or one-day shipping, it’s saved me money. Last year, Amazon lowered the price to $50 for the holidays, so if anyone’s interested and doesn’t need their purchases right away, they may want to hold off for a little while.

    The article that was linked to is very weak.
    - “2) Prime doesn’t apply to non-Amazon purchases. Many times, the lowest price or the only available merchandise is from a third party vendor. On several occasions, I bought something were my Prime membership was worthless. I still needed to pay for the shipping from the vendor and that seemed awkward, because as far as I was concerned, I was buying it from Amazon.com.”
    Through Amazon.com, not from Amazon.com (note that a few third-party venders have fulfillment by Amazon, so their items are eligible for Prime: http://www.amazonservices.com/content/fulfillment-by-amazon.htm). Almost every item I’ve bought on Amazon.com has been cheaper from Amazon than from any of the third-party sellers.
    - 3) is the exact same argument as 2).
    - “4) Prime narrowed my comparison shopping. I used to look at several sites before buying, but once I had Prime, I felt like I needed to leverage my investment.”
    That’s the author’s fault, not Amazon’s. I still comparison shop as much as I did before (Amazon’s text store (https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/personal/textbuyit) is really useful for this).
    - (this was after 4), but is the same as 1) ) “Just hit that magic $25 minimum, and wait the 3 to 5 days for your purchase to show up.”
    Amazon’s Super Saver shipping is quoted as “5-9 business days,” so an order on Monday pre-cutoff will arrive on the following Monday at the earliest (in years of using Amazon, I got two Super Saver shipments earlier than 5 business days).

    Amazon Prime is like any other membership program: useful if you use it.

  79. Aaronjk says:

    I always opt for the Free Super Saver Shipping, which takes 7-9 days… I always get it in 2….

  80. savdavid says:

    All I can say is that I have had Prime for 3 years and have never noticed higher prices between my order of the same item my friend orders without Prime. Also, Prime is for a whole year and is for everyone in your household. If you order a lot from Amazon it is worth it.

  81. Fixta Fernback says:

    I don’t use Prime simply because I buy most of my stuff (CDs, Video Games, Books) used. Most — if not all — of what I find used on Amazon doesn’t offer Prime. However, if I wasn’t so set on purchasing all of the above cheap ‘n’ used, Prime does seem like a great model.

  82. senior chick says:

    I love Amazon Prime, especially for higher ticket items. For example, I purchased a trike a few months ago, for a little less than $300, unassembled and no shipping.

    I don’t notice very much an increase in prices, but the things I do buy are much cheaper than the stores. Plus, I don’t have to pay a state tax like I would in the state I live in.

    I think Amazon is tops for customer service, and since I do buy a lot of books and gifts, this is a bargain for me.

  83. G. Stephens says:

    I LOVE Amazon Prime, for me a frequent shopper at Amazon it is well worth the money. It is true that Prime does not apply to all products, but it does apply to most of the products I frequently purchase through Amazon. It is also true that Amazon often sells products through multiple vendors and sometimes the Amazon price is higher than the other vendors, however if you are aware of this it is usually not an issue.

    I just completed 90% of my Christmas Shopping and over the last 3 days 9 or 10 large boxes have arrived at my home…. all shipped free as part of my Prime Membership. Once I even purchased a lawn mower again shipped free. One other nice thing about Prime is I don’t have to spend $25 to get free super saver shipping. Often before I had Prime I would order additional things to get my total to $25 so I could get the free shipping – I know it didn’t make sense, but I hated to pay shipping when I could spend a few more dollars and get it free. It also seemed that the free super saver shipping would often take forever. Recently I needed a $3 cable… and it was shipped again FREE – I love Prime.

    Prime is a good deal for frequent customers but not for everyone. It depends on what you are buying and how often. For me I love it and would never go back… but it depends on your needs and habits.

  84. DustoMan says:

    Wow. So many things are wrong with this story, but great job to the people here that have quickly and throughly debunked this story. I don’t even know why I read this site anymore. The blaintant inaccuracies and knee-jerk posts are really making this site less and less useful.

    1. The prices compared are Amazon vs. other vendors that buy through the site.

    2. There’s no difference between the price that Prime and non-Prime customers see. So there’s no “padding” happening here.

    3. Items that qualify for Super Saver Shipping and Prime are in most cases… the same.

    Had prime for two years and loving it!

  85. pinkpetunia says:

    I think it’s great for heavy Amazon purchasers, especially if you split the cost since you can add “household members” on the same account. Also, shipping is expensive if you end up having to pay for it (spending less than $25 on something small and heavy, for example). I worked for an e-retailer for a while and when the ACTUAL shipping cost is passed along to the customer, it’s surprisingly steep. When I buy from specialty sites, it’s the same thing – shipping can be 25-50% of my entire purchase. Super Saver shipping only kicks in at $25 or more on Amazon, which is more than the price of a book or a CD or a LOT of other things. That said, I think the world of internet retailers is becoming more competitive through decreasing shipping costs. The most successful internet retailers are the ones who can duplicate (or improve), through the website, the would-be in-store benefit to the consumer by eliminating shipping and tax costs. On top of all that, it’s just plain convenient.

  86. Amish Undercover says:

    For those of you who are on Prime, have you ever noticed price differences? I noticed these when I was looking at some items over the phone with my girlfriend. We each were looking at the same items and noticed the prices I saw were higher. Since we lived a mile apart it wasn’t a regional price difference but seemed to be associated with our accounts. I ordered the items through my account and then emailed Amazon to be refunded the difference… but why was there a difference???

  87. etoilegyrl says:

    Even though the vendors charge less for the item, their shipping rates are pretty high (usually $6-10+) making it cost more than Amazon + Prime. It also takes quite a bit longer for Marketplace items to ship, whereas with Prime, I sometimes get the item the next day (when choosing the two-day option).

    I do a lot of shopping through Amazon, so Prime is worth it for me, especially for textbooks.

  88. jenjenjen says:

    I’ve been a Prime customer since the summer. What I like about the Prime service is the PREDICTABLE delivery. Assuming the item is in stock – and they tell me if it’s not – I know exactly when they will deliver. So if it’s an item they’re likely to make me sign for, I can time it so I can be home. Delivery continues to be the very very weak link in the whole online shopping chain for me and many single working people. Nobody home to sign, UPS can’t leave packages unattended without a signature, you can’t select to deliver to a UPS store when you purchase, you can’t tell Amazon to use USPS instead. For me, the predictability of the delivery is worth the two-day shipping and Prime is the most cost-effective way to get two-day shipping if you buy a lot. I have been buying A LOT this year because of setting up a new home. Next year I might reconsider.

  89. narq says:

    Let’s make this easy.

    Amazon: $13+free 2 day shipping
    Seller: $8 + $3.99 ? shipping = $12 or more

    Who knows how long it will be until the seller gets you the item. From amazon you know it’s 2 days or you can overnight for cheap. So is saving a dollar really worth it? Prime has saved me a lot of money and saved my butt a few times that I needed something overnighted. Even if sellers have it cheaper, it’s still a lower price than your local store. So what is there to really complain about? Amazon does usually beat or match competitors but that’s real competitors not sellers on amazon.

  90. xguile says:

    Prime has been a great service in my experience. I buy dozens of things a year and I hate waiting which is crucial for purchasing gifts. Of course not everything is available for Prime but most of the stuff I’m into (video games, electronics) usually are and I don’t notice a markup on things I buy but for others it may be a different story.

  91. Schemer says:

    I live in a somewhat rural area, so Amazon Prime is a life saver for me. Especially when it comes to those hard-to-find items like electronic cables and parts that you can’t wait a week for from Monoprice. The only electronics store we have is “The Shack” and I refuse to shop there. Amazon was also wonderful when I needed baby supplies. We luckily have a Walmart and Target here, but the selection leaves a lot to be desired and items are often sold out. Amazon was great at filling in the gaps. Plus, it helped that I didn’t have to drag my newborn out for every little thing. Like others have mentioned, I split the membership with a friend of mine so it was only $40. Very worth it to me.

  92. RichardG says:

    I signed up for the trial about a year ago and forgot to cancel and boy am I glad. I’m buy books and I get my money’s worth. Two day shipping is a godsend for impatient book eaters. The few times i would have had to pay shipping, I go to another site or try and find/order it in a local store.

  93. bushi says:

    That is right there with amazon raising the price of things in your q by a few cents randomly and periodically. You can log out and see the real price from a different IP. It is just plain wrong.

  94. bradmo says:

    I’m a big fan of Amazon Prime. I had 34 orders on Amazon in the last 30 days. Add to it the fact that I can share Prime with family members, and store their credit cards on my account, it more than pays for itself. Plus, on the VERY rare occasions when I have an issue with an Amazon order, replacements are sent next day. I would buy everything from Amazon if I could.

  95. Cubziz says:

    Amusingly enough I just used my Prime Membership this morning.

    Amazon items, directly sold by Amazon, are always available for Prime. Items sold through third parties are up to the discretion of third parties (which almost never opt in). When you want to find items, sort by the Seller and select just “Amazon.com” as the seller. Now you have items which wil be Prime capable.

    Prime has been a life saver for me. I had a hard drive fail the day I left for a funeral on Wed. Today was the first day I could replace it. I was able to order a replacement drive, have it overnight & Saturday delivery for $40 less than I could get it from the local Best Buy… and that’s not including the taxes and my time to find the drive. (Sat Shipping was $7.)

    So, I live by my Prime membership and have had no problems with it at all.

  96. substance12 says:

    prime is absolutely worth it for me. most of what i buy on amazon is thru amazon and has prime shipping.

    the quoted statement above is just antidotal. well to counter non-scientific data with my own non-scientific data… most of what i see offered from amazon is cheaper than the rest… and i get prime.. and it’s cheaper than B&M.

    it’s not a trap but as to whether or not prime is worth it really depends on you.