Two recent examples of behaviour by a large organisation towards its customers that make you wonder whether this is an informal definition of "dominance" in competition law terms. I saw the story below on the BBC about Amazon customers discovering that they have been passively signed up for the Prime next day delivery service (for which Amazon make an annual charge) without realising. There was similar coverage from 2014 about AA customers being upgraded, unless they positively selected otherwise, to a significantly more expensive level of service. Presumably each organisation has made a calculation about the benefits in significantly increased revenues, balanced against the customer relations/reputational damage that might be caused by this. Almost by definition, if the customers do not feel they have much alternative than putting up with this, this looks like the abuse of a dominant position in their market by an organisation. It's an example of why it remains important to have legal means of controlling the tendency, which is always there in business, for large organisations to take advantage of monopoly or quasi-monopoly positions. I am not entirely sure that our regulatory environment is as tough on this sort of thing as it ought to be.
Are you paying Amazon £79 a year for something you didn't even know you'd signed up for?Many customers are complaining they're being charged for Amazon Prime, even though they hadn't realised they'd committed to a contract.Prime membership guarantees free one-day delivery on millions of items as well as a number of other perks.The website does state that subscribers will be upgraded to a paid membership at the end of the free trial.