Lawsuit against Amazon Prime Video: Only informed instead of accepted – is advertising in the program even allowed?


Amazon Prime Video is now also showing advertising in Germany – if you don’t want that, you have to pay more. However, the consumer advice center considers this regulation to be unlawful and is filing a lawsuit.

Not like that, Amazon Prime Video! (Source: Amazon Prime Video / Elnur_ / / Montage: Netzwelt)

It’s been known for a long time, and since February 5, 2024 it’s officially happened: Amazon Prime Video is showing advertising in Germany. It is not the first streaming service to interrupt the current program with commercial breaks, but while Netflix and Disney+ offer their own advertising subscription that is available at a cheaper price, Amazon simply inserts the advertising into the existing subscription.

An ad-free version exists, but it costs 2.99 euros more per month – and doesn’t even really remove all advertising. So you could say that the previous subscription, namely the ad-free subscription, is now more expensive, while an advertising subscription replaces the old subscription at the previous price. This not only annoys many subscribers, but also the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations.

That’s not how it works, Amazon!


Reacher (Credit: Keri Anderson/Amazon Studios)

After Amazon Prime Video had already been warned by them, the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations is now filing a lawsuit against the streaming service. The reason: The subscribers were presented with a fait accompli and had no opportunity to agree to this change. However, this is necessary in Germany if there is a significant change to the contract.

Amazon has now also commented on the allegations made by the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations. In a statement it says:

In order to continue to invest in fantastic content and keep this investment high over the long term, Prime Video titles in Germany will contain limited advertising from February 5, 2024, similar to the advertisements previously shown in other Prime Video content such as e.g. live sports could be seen. We informed customers about this Prime Video update transparently, in advance and in accordance with applicable law. We offer an ad-free version for customers who prefer this option and all customers have the right to terminate their membership at any time. We have clearly informed you about this in our communications.

An Amazon spokesperson

From the point of view of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, if there is a significant change to the contract, it is not enough to inform subscribers about such change plans; they must clearly agree to the changes.

It could take several months before a verdict is reached. It will then be clarified whether the sudden advertising in the streaming program represents a significant or insignificant change to the contract and whether Amazon’s actions here were legal.

In the long term, however, advertising is unlikely to disappear from Prime Video subscriptions. Ultimately, the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations is not suing against the advertising interruption itself, but rather the unlawful change to the contract, which should currently allow subscribers to stream the Amazon program without advertising.

You will probably hardly get any money back from Amazon, because if you now decide to pay 2.99 euros per month for an ad-free subscription, you agree to these conditions. This is primarily about German law itself and the correct procedure for such a contract change.

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