Amazon Instant Video Prime Nightmares

Dear Amazon:

I’ve ordered episodes and seasons of Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe so many times in the past few months, it’s a wonder I don’t have the full collection. Ah, but I do. I own most of the Stargate series on VHS, DVD, and even BlueRay. That’s not the point. I wanted to watch them one after another as part of a nostalgic bent of mine lately, and I wanted to watch them as I was doing other things, so I started watching them on my phone and tablet.

Amazon Prime allows me to watch tons of shows and movies for free as a member, yet you still do not have a video watching app, and it can be tricky to set up your mobile device to watch the shows.

For those reading a home, to watch Amazon Prime Instant Videos on your phone or tablet, open your web browser and set it to Desktop Mode. Then prepare to spend too much time with Amazon Customer Support getting refunds for your accidental digital orders.

Amazon Instant Video Prime  - Poor Interface design allows purchases when pushing play buttons.

Call it “fat fingers” as Google recently did when they changed their Google Ad system to ask if you meant to click an ad instead of automatically billing the ad owner every time you accidentally clicked on an ad. Call it a slip of fingers. Call it poor UI. Whatever you want to call it, I’m sick of finding out that I bought an episode or the entire series when I did not mean to.

Come on, Amazon. The videos on Amazon Prime Instant Video are free. That’s part of our membership.

When you are a member, the web pages on Amazon display Amazon Prime information on shipping and other data. When you are logged in, who cares if you are a Prime member, the system knows you are logged in and delivers information and data related to your wishes, clicks, and recently visited items. So why is it so hard to turn off the BUY buttons when a Prime member is viewing videos that they are entitled to for free? Or at least move it into a spot that we can’t hit it by accident? Or make the damn app we need so we can partake without constantly nagging you all to refund our money buying something we are getting for free?

Before I go any further, if you are having the same problem, here is where to go to request a refund. Amazon doesn’t make it easy to find the link so here it is: Help: Contact Customer Service. Click the yellow CONTACT US button. This will start the process for submitting an email to them, or you can use the live chat. I go for the email so I don’t have to feel like I have to explain too much.

Amazon Instant Prime Videos poor interface example of play buttons right next to buy buttons.

This happens so much, they even have a form letter via email they send you, something like this:


I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused.

I’ve checked your account and see that a refund of $1.99 was issued to your credit card for order #D01-XXXXX on December 9, 2012. Our system indicates that the refund is complete.

You’ll be able to view the completed refund here:

This refund should have appeared on your next statement after December 9, 2012. If you don’t see the refund, you may want to contact your bank to ask about its status.


Amazon Instant Videos aren’t returnable after purchase; however, because of the circumstances, I’ve made an exception and issued a refund in the amount of $14.99 for Stargate Universe Season 1. The refund will be applied to the payment method used for the original purchase, and should complete within the next 2-3 business days. Once processed, you can view the refund here:

This video will be removed from Your Video Library as a part of the refund process.

I’ll consider your comments about including a feature where some verification be made before placing the order for videos as a feedback and send them to Amazon Instant Video team. They’re always looking for ways to improve our offerings and may be able to make this feature available in the future.

Customer feedback like yours is very important in helping us continue to improve the experience of watching our digital videos. I appreciate your thoughts, and I have forwarded your suggestion to the appropriate team.

If you have any further queries, please contact us again by visiting the link below:

I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Here are my solutions to Amazon Instant Video watching nightmares. They are easily implemented, and in fact, some of these are currently being used by Amazon. One of my proposals is featured in this image.

Proposed redesign of the Amazon Instant Video player by Lorelle VanFossen.

  1. Ebook orders have a link when you order a book that asks, “Did you order this by mistake?” Click it an it will instantly take you to a refund screen. Love it. Why can’t this type of confirmation, yes or no buttons, be part of the purchase of digital media like videos?
  2. Move the purchase buttons away from the watching buttons. Seriously easy. Put the purchase button on the player under the album art, so to speak, of the show. Put the watch on the opposite side. No chance a slip of the finger could hit that. Move the season purchase button to the left side of the screen instead of the right where it sits right directly under the full screen view button. You want to watch it in full screen, right? You’re going to hit the “buy season” button.
  3. One Click Ordering may be turned off, but when viewed on a mobile device, it appears that whatever feature that turns off One Click Ordering doesn’t work. No matter what your personal preferences or setting are set for, and mine are set to turn One Click Ordering OFF, it’s on for mobile devices. That’s just wrong.
  4. There is an Amazon app and an Amazon app store app. Give us an app for watching Amazon Instant Videos or incorporate the ability to watch them into the current Amazon app.

See, those aren’t hard. They make sense. It costs money to refund money. Think of the money you would be saving if this was done better. It takes time and energy on the part of customer service, but mostly it pisses off customers, something Amazon is not known for, so why now?

Amazon, it’s about usability and customer experience and you are lacking it in the video area.

Amazon, while you are at it, please fix your video player. I’ve experimented with Dolphin, Firefox, Chrome, Maxthon, and several other mobile browsers and it takes three or four tries to get the player to work. I’ll sit down for lunch and a watch of a show and 20 minutes later I’m done with my meal and I’ve forced the closure of the browser repeatedly and cleared cache, RAM, and everything to get it to finally load. The show starts and when it’s done, I close it, but not before noticing that I’ve somehow purchased the damn episode. Now I have to go to my desktop computer and fire off another customer service email to request a refund.

I’m tired of nagging you, Amazon. You are better than this. I’ve been a loyal customer since you first started. I started with Prime early on, too, once we got back to the states where it could do me good. I love the things you are doing with Prime, giving us more than just free shipping, but I’m almost worn out with this video shit. It’s eating up time in the day I just don’t have and I need what time I do have to relax, not be pissed off at you all.

Thank you.

5 thoughts on “Amazon Instant Video Prime Nightmares

  1. Pingback: The Mystery of the Stargate Coasters and the Pears | Taking Your Camera on the Road

  2. Pingback: Happy Holidays and Onward! « Lorelle on WordPress

  3. We have contacted Amazon many times trying to get them fix that 1-click order button.. all we got was, … sorry 1-click can not be turn off for instant video…. The prime membership end up costing us hundreds of dollars due to my 2-year old son’s accidental order on many of the instant videos that are FREE to prime members.

    If amazon can’t or not willing to correct that… maybe someone can create a browser plug-in that remove/mask the 1-click… I will be first to purchase that…

  4. And why is it amazon’s fault that you let your 2 year olds play with something that you know can make a purchase? just be a better parent…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s