5 Reasons Why Amazon Prime Is a Terrible Buy

Updated November 12, 2020 by Kyle
85
comments

A couple days ago I saw that Amazon.com is considering bumping up the price of their Prime Membership by $20 or $40 bucks. It is currently $99 annually, so it will potentially be $109 or $119 per year. This story got me thinking about the Prime Membership, which for those of you that don’t know, gives members unlimited free 2-day shipping, some free Kindle books every month, and access to Amazon instant streaming (think Netflix after it got shot, run over, then run over again). Is it worth the money every year? Does it make you overspend? Does it make you a lazy shopper? To those 3 questions I say No, Yes, Yes. Keep on reading to see why…

1. Amazon Already Has Free Shipping on $25+

I mean sure, the free 2-day shipping all orders is a great incentive, but are you aware that Amazon already offers free shipping on $25+ orders? For those who say, “But most of my purchases are under $25 and won’t qualify for free shipping.” To them I say make sure and combine orders until you reach the $25 threshold.

Have a little will-power on purchases and wait until you have several items you need to buy before you make an order.

The idea that you must have something in 2-days means you should probably be heading to your local Walmart, Target, or grocery store to buy it.

If you are a shopper that buys stuff online and always “Needs It NOW” and you’ll happily pay for expedited shipping to make it happen, then the Prime membership will definitely save you money, but I think this is a pretty small percentage of the population.

See Also: 6 Brilliantly Slick Ways to Get Amazon Prime for FREE

2. Prime Membership Makes You a Lazy Shopper

This may be the single biggest reason why the Amazon Prime membership is a bad buy.

Put simply, it makes many consumers flat out lazy. They don’t compare pricing anymore, they don’t haggle for a better price, they don’t take advantage of retailer’s price match policies, and they sure as heck don’t seek out coupons in order to get the best deal possible.

Instead they head straight to Amazon.com and click a single ‘Buy It Now’ button and viola!, it magically appears on their doorstep two days later.

Many shoppers at this point will make the argument that Amazon always has low prices so I don’t need to be a smart consumer. WRONG! Check out my article Price Smackdown: Walmart.com Vs. Amazon.com which clearly debunks this myth.

3. Amazon.com is a “Walmart-Wolf” in Sheep’s Clothing

When it comes to branding, Jeff Bezos and the marketing team at Amazon are absolute geniuses.

Over the years they have kept the brand “cool” in the eyes of consumers while the Walmarts of the world are seen as a company who ruins the little guy, pinches suppliers to death, and offers low paying jobs and sub-par health benefits.

One of the ways Amazon pulls this off is by not having a human face on the business. There is not some minimum-wage earning oldster greeting you when you shop at Amazon.com and there is very little written about the Amazon warehouse employees.

Employees toiling in the gigantic Amazon warehouses have very little voice and Amazon likes it that way. See True Stories of Life as an Amazon Worker from Gawker to get a glimpse behind the Amazon curtain.

So why do I bring this up? I don’t want you to just accept Amazon and the Prime membership as a alternative to the Walmart culture and way of doing business. In the end, there is not a huge difference between the two.

4. Ridiculously Easy to Overspend

I’m going to get a little psychological with you for a minute. I believe that many Amazon Prime members feel they need to shop with them as much as possible in order to recoup the membership fee.

I have talked with enough loyal Amazon shoppers over the years to confirm this phenomena.

So what is the outcome? People buying everything under the sun from Amazon, often paying much more than they would at their local store, in order to get the free 2-day shipping. Overspending up the wazoo.

I would also make the argument that the biggest reason for Amazon potentially raising the cost of the Prime membership is because they know people will end up buying more from them in an effort to make sure they “get their money’s worth”.

5. Prime Streaming is a Joke

If you’ve ever tried the Amazon Instant Streaming feature you already know what I am talking about. The selection is weaker than Michelob Ultra Light and it’s clearly an add-on designed to entice you into buying a movie or TV show because you’d rather shoot yourself than watch one of the free ones.

If you already have cable or satellite TV the Prime Instant Streaming will probably never be used. But if you don’t, you could definitely find something to watch for free. Just don’t expect anything made in the past several years.

BONUS: Prime Membership Savings Tips:

If you’re on the fence about dropping the cash on an Amazon.com Prime membership, I have a few tips to minimize your costs.

1. Free 30 day trial. Amazon offers prospective members a free 30-day trial. I typically recommend shoppers to sign-up for their trial just before Black Friday so they can do all their Christmas shopping and get free 2-day delivery.

But since we are in mid February that doesn’t make a lot sense. Once you start your free trial, track your purchases and your savings in terms of shipping costs.

Add them up at the end of the month and times it by 12 to get a rough idea of your annual savings.

2. Invite family/friends and save. Not many shoppers know that you can invite four family members or friends into your Prime membership with you.

So theoretically you could split the costs and only pay $15.80 per year making it a total no-brainer.

It is also worth noting that only the primary member gets access to the free streaming service.

3. Get Amazon price alerts. If you end up (or already are) a Prime member you need to be using CamelCamelCamel.com as it allows you to create Amazon price alerts on products you want to purchase.

The website then emails you when the price drops below a predetermined price point. It’s a sweet little free tool with a totally stupid name.

Ask the Reader: Are you an Amazon Prime member? If so, do you think it is worth the current $99/yr price tag? What about if they raise the annual fee to $119? Also, do you think it makes you overspend and not research the best price?


By Kyle James

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

85 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris

If you just buy one item a month, 12 items a year, Prime has already paid for itself in the free 2-day shipping alone.

Suz

I got Amazon Prime mainly to watch shows, both tv and movies. At first they were free to Prime members but no longer. Why am I paying over $100.00 and still pay to watch shows. This is no longer the deal it was when it began. Seems they are so prosperous enough now that greed has taken over.

Elaine

I agree. My free membership is ending today. I went onto Amazon and saw the free movies and shows. The same movies kept coming up as I scrolled down. I can watch better movies on free streaming services. I can listen to all the music I want on YouTube for free. Same or next day delivery is not an enticement for me. You are paying for free delivery and that’s it. I have been shopping on Amazon for years and have never paid delivery charges. I am glad that this page came up when I googled is Prime worth it. As far as I am concerned, definitely not.

Palf

Flooding of Amazon with cheap Chinese knockoffs, lack of consistency with 2 day Prime shipping and a completely rigged “keep the product if you change your negative review to a positive plus refund” system and add ownership of the world’s worst news publication The Washington Compost and you’ve got ZERO reasons to join AMAZON Prime. Cancelled membership after 5 years, could not be happier.

Mona

I have Amazon Prime Ain it is useless. My order come different than it show in pic. Sometime I return and sometime place to return is so far that you have to toss the item.

Blake

I’ve done Prime for 3+ years now and will probably cancel soon. First, when I first signed up, Prime-eligible orders actually came within 2 days. Different story today; only 2 out of 3 seem to make it. Amazon is getting sloppy(greedy?). Second, has no one else noticed that if you compare pricing on a particular product, Prime is almost always several dollars higher? This is essentially a scam. The extra cost for 2 day shipping is buried in the price. Reminds me of early days of internet buying where sellers used to lure buyers in with low upfront cost, then hammer them on the back end by adding ridiculous “shipping and handling” costs.

Some people never learn TINSTAAFL. (There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) Sellers gonna get dey money from us one way or another.

Jimmy

I have a student Prime membership which is $49/year. I will not get the full price membership. I just don’t see that the Amazon videos are worth over $100 year. And the 2 day shipping has become a 3-5 day shipping. And I HATE the Amazon add-on thing.

Someone

I don’t work for Amazon but I hate seeing dumb arguments. Let me tell you exactly how you were dead wrong in your all 5 arguments even in the standards back in 2014.

1. You complain about how Amazon Prime makes you overspend and yet you think $25 minimum order would do just better? You also advise us to shop at local stores. Well, it has been three years, enough time for you to think. Since then, have you realized how many products on Amazon cannot be easily found in your local stores? Have you also realized how much money Amazon has been able to save for its customers because of the competitions that it brings to the marketplace?

2. Efficiency does not equal to laziness. Shopping online only makes price comparison more efficient than ever. You can not only compare prices across all retails but also track down all changes in price using services such as camelcamelcamel. In fact, shopping at Wal-Mart or Target is arguably a more lazy way because you simply don’t do any price comparison once you enter the stores.

3. You can always dig deep into any large corporations and somehow find some “victims” as a result of the business. Sure. Someone might not be treated fairly at Wal-mart or even Amazon. But please go one step beyond your first-order thinking. Do you truly think those people would do better and be treated fairly by working in mom and pop shops? Plus, we all know who the victims are when greedy unions take over a large corporation. Just look at the way customers are treated in the airline industry. Please also study how GM was killed by the very union who claimed to be the company most valuable asset.

4. Saying Amazon makes you overspend is like saying restaurants make you overeat. You are an adult and you are responsible for your own decisions. This argument is just ridiculous.

5. Amazon’s streaming service was pretty bad back in 2014 but it was free with Prime. If you are not satisfied, feel free to pay your alternative streaming provider, Netflix, over $120+/year for a better collection. Or you can try Comcast, which was not free and a bigger joker.

It’s been three years since you put up this blog post and I sincerely hope you have spent time improving your critical thinking skills.

Elaine

Sorry, but you are dead wrong. You cannot even compare the free streaming services Prime offers to other streaming services. Besides, you do not need a Prime account to find things that you cannot find anywhere else. All you need is an Amazon account. You can stream television shows for free by just going on to their websites. I have been a member of Amazon for years and have never paid a delivery charge. Maybe Prime works for some people but I doubt if it works for many people.

Gworge

I don’t need to read the 5 reasons to validate why it’s a terrible buy. I bought Prime for $99, started watching Poldark Sn 1 and 2, then had to purchase Sn 3 for $15 or buy a PBs $5.99 monthly membership! I’m cancelling.

Tracey

They raise the price, I am gone. I used to be a frequent order placer, so the $99 was worth it. My buying has dropped drastically and there is no way I will pay more than $99, period. And their streaming service sucks; anything I even consider has a cost involved. Free Kindle books, meh, okay if you read, but I don’t. Plus, I have had my share of Kindle Fire’s, and honestly, they suck. One barely lasted 3 years, really??!??! Needs a new battery, which guess what, they aren’t easily replaceable, so it’s garbage. I paid close to $400 for it; it shouldn’t die after only a few years. I’m done with Amazon. Plus, I ordered something, and I didn’t even receive it yet and the price dropped over a dollar. Being a long time member has no advantages, loyalty be damned. Game over.

Annie Meszaros

I’m way late to this discussion, but it never seems to get old. I’ve been a Prime Member since day one. Today I questioned why I was still a member and googled “Is Amazon Prime worth it?” and found this.

I absolutely don’t think Prime is worth it anymore and I question shopping on Amazon altogether. In the last year especially, more and more items are not included under the prime umbrella. You have to pay shipping on a lot more items. But the biggest thing for me is that Amazon doesn’t have the best prices anymore. If anything, it’s more expensive than elsewhere. The money to pay for “free shipping” has to come from somewhere. I wish Amazon would also kick out the sellers that charge hundreds of dollars more for an item that’s harder to find. Like a $200 textbook being sold for $2,500. Thanks Amazon. There must be some tactic behind this, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’s to get ahead of someone else.

Abe

Just cancelled today after being a Prime member for FIVE years. The Amazon video section had become all BUY or RENT. I bought products off Amazon that were total junk- worse than Dollar Store items for as much as $20. I began feeling like a fool for money wasted. The main reason I left was because Walmart started offering free shipping for everything. Usually buying off Ebay allows me to see an actual product and not just cheap crap that some college kid is churning from China. Amazon has fallen from what it once was. Just sad that it happened so fast.

GypsyPeach

Totally agree with you about the crap sellers Amazon definitely does not “screen” or hold to any kind of standard. More and more of the product descriptions are very obviously written by non-English speaking China-based companies–read the US headlines about China recently?? As an American, I do my best to not purchase products from countries that declare themselves to be at war with the US–including “cold” war. After unwittingly ordering an item from a direct-from-Shanghai seller on Amazon, I had my first time of having an online account hacked by–you guessed it–a hacker in China. Only by a “fluke” did I stumble upon the suspicious activity within about 15 minutes of the breach, so I feel very blessed that nothing financially devastating happened, but it has seriously changed my shopping habits with Amazon. Not a good thing, since I am one of those partiality disabled Prime Members for whom the service WAS a Godsend. One last thing though that I’m frankly stunned no one seems to be aware of: Walmart has FINALLY started posting the “online price” side-by-side with the “in store price” for all products listed on their site: they have always more than recouped whatever “free” shipping you thought you were getting, over OR under a $35 order. They have NEVER actually shipped anything for FREE. Ever.

Ray

I look at Amazon just like any other store. If they carry products I like at a competitive price, I’ll shop there. I’ve shopped there a lot over the last five years. Lately I have started to buy more at other places. I’m not interested in a Prime membership. Every lime I log into my Amazon account or go to my mobile App, there it is! They are pushing Prime. Twice this month I have found that I am a Prime member without my consent. Oh, my finger may have grazed one of the big boxes on the Mobile app saying I want a free trial membership but they certainly didn’t ask me if I actually meant to join. On top of that they took the liberty of scheduling monthly payments to continue after the free month. I guess Jeff isn’t making enough money.
Anyway, E-bay, Wallmart, Best Buy, and others are starting to look a lot better. If I wanted to make this a ten page rant, I could site at least ten examples of times when I found something on Amazon that was exclusive to Prime members. I went to another site and found it significantly less expensive with free shipping regardless of price, and no membership fee!
Good luck Amazon. I remember when Sears and Macy’s were King

cheryl

Yes, but, it is worse.

Prime does not give 2 day shipping free. At one time I guess they did. Now it says right on the order, get it by (date), or pay this much extras to get it in two days. Even the get it by date is always wrong and it often takes 2-3 days longer. I find that the average time to get something on Prime is 5 days.

Also the Prime cost is almost always 10-15% higher. I just ordered a product (from Home Depot). On Amazon it was $125, free shipping from a secondary store. The Prime price was $139. I see this over and over. (The Home depot price was $129 free shipping. I ordered there for ease of return.)

I didn’t want it, but Prime renewed my membership about 2 mos. ago without even sending an e-mail. It is harder to get out of than a magazine subscription.

I don’t use their video or music stuff, I signed up for the return policy only, since I live far out in the country and they will have UPS pick it up.

Homebound

Agree and disagree also. Yes, it’s no better than any other megastore.

However, I find less incentive to overspend with Prime because I am not trying to fill up my $25 box. I can’t “run to the local store” because I am homebound.

C J

I am an Amazon Prime member & agree with everything you stated. Here’s the latest Amazon stunt. I have noticed in the past month that I am not allowed to rate any products that I buy under Prime, but only if I purchase from a third party seller. There have been several times that I would have given a 1 star for products bought through Prime only because a 0 star isn’t available. Amazon will not let me rate products that they over charge me for; plus charge me a membership fee on top of that. Can we say double dipping here? Amazon is now overloaded with so much cheap made junk out of China that they can’t keep up with the scams & knock-offs being stole & sold, especially with women’s clothing & accessories. This has become the norm so much that Amazon has become the place not to shop until they can get it together. It has become a headache as a shopper. I am now a frequent visitor to the UPS store to drop off returns. Yes, Amazon now has a contract with UPS to take returns from Prime members who want a refund. Bet if they had to pick up all those returns they would clean house. UPS is also delivering packages for Amazon although they have their own drivers. I will credit Amazon as my preferred place to shop for book deals & that’s about it. I will not be renewing my membership.

Rocky Richards

Way not worth it at all! Do the math with shipping… Unless you live in the boonies, with no transportation to get to a retail store – – then Amazon might be worth it. Otherwise, you’re better off making the item yourself. About 99% of items are knock off chinese garbage with fake reviews and hijacked accounts. The reviews don’t even match up with the items being sold. Forget it. It USED to be a good deal about 6 yrs ago and more..

303 Shares
Share73
Pin217
Tweet13