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The New York Times this morning has a story about Amazon's Subscribe & Save automatic replenishment service, suggesting that some people are accusing the retailer of an atypically customer-unfriendly, bait-and-switch approach.

"Amazon’s subscription program, which was introduced in 2007, lets consumers register to have their favorite consumables delivered regularly — monthly, for example — in exchange for a discount of at least 5 percent off each order," the Times writes. "Buried in the e-commerce company’s terms and conditions is that the Subscribe & Save discount is applied to the price of the item at the time that the order is placed. And on Amazon, prices change frequently — including sometimes rising."

The story notes that "The company emails people 10 days before a recurring subscription delivery, when it informs customers of a new price of their item so they can change or skip the order. Any sticker shock, analysts said, may be the result of Amazon’s complex pricing system coming into conflict with consumer expectations of a traditional subscription."

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View:
This is an interesting story, even if all it does is point out something that Amazon has not hidden. I do think that some of the price differentials month-to-month are surprising, but I'll also point out that we use Subscribe & Save for a dozen or so items at home, and we've never run into anything like what is described by the Times.

I do think that when retailers develop competitive alternatives to Subscribe & Save, this is something about which they need to be aware.