A recent spate of Amazon’s Gold memberships have come under fire, with many users complaining that they are being asked to pay for items which don’t exist.
The problems stem from Amazon’s use of a system that essentially allows sellers to charge extra fees to resell certain Amazon-branded gym equipment.
The problem, according to some users, is that Amazon is deliberately deceiving users into thinking that the equipment they’re buying is gold-certified.
In order to sell Amazon Gold members, Amazon has to make sure that the items sold through its platform are in fact genuine gold-worthy items.
Amazon has also had to issue refunds to Gold members if they buy the wrong items.
However, in order to actually get Amazon Gold membership, Gold members must first register and create a free account.
The system requires the Gold membership holder to complete an online form where they can opt out of having their purchases recorded on the site.
Users have also complained that Amazon’s free membership offer, which includes a gold certification badge, has made Gold members feel more like they’re getting genuine gold.
“I’ve been on Amazon Gold for more than a year and I have not experienced any problems, and I do not feel like I’m getting ripped off,” wrote one Gold member.
“Amazon seems to have some kind of system in place whereby Gold members are charged extra fees for products they don’t need.
Amazon doesn’t seem to care that many Gold members already have a Gold membership and they’ve done nothing to help them out.
They have been intentionally misleading Gold members.”
One Gold member told the BBC that the company was deliberately trying to make Gold members believe that Amazon Gold is genuine gold because the Gold badge is used as a badge of authenticity.
“It’s not just the gold that’s fake, it’s also the fact that they use the badge of gold, which is actually gold, in their website,” the Gold member wrote.
“If I didn’t have a gold badge, then I’d be getting gold in real life, and Amazon would never charge me.”
Another Gold member said that Amazon has “stolen gold from me” and has even tried to “ruin my reputation” by making Gold members pay to see the badges they purchase.
“There is a whole industry of people that have used fake badges for years and have no idea what they’re doing, and if they can do it to people, they can just as easily do it again to me,” the user wrote.
Another Gold customer added that he “did not have any issues” with Amazon’s claim that the Gold badges are genuine.
However Amazon has defended the badge system, arguing that the badges are “used to create a feeling of ownership” among Gold members.
“We have a rigorous process for evaluating the validity of any product that is purchased by Gold members,” the company told the Huffington Post UK.
“For example, the badge may be a real badge, but it is not a valid badge because it is based on a false idea of ownership, and it is designed to confuse the customer.”
Amazon told the Guardian that it is working to fix the problem and that it would be reviewing all its Gold membership policies in the coming weeks.