Kindle Compass Subscription: I Didn’t Sign Up for This, Amazon

Posted by · January 5, 2012 10:55 am

(1/5/2012 Update: Amazon has sent a follow up email confirming the Kindle Compass is in fact a free publication  and the prior email “incorrectly referred to The Kindle Compass as a subscription with a free trial. We built it to always be free for customers, and you will never be charged for it. We apologize for any confusion.”)

Early this morning I received an email from Amazon (specifically, the message was from “Kindle Subscriptions”) welcoming me to my “free trial Kindle subscription to The Kindle Compass.”

Image courtesy AJP on flickr

The problem? I didn’t sign up for “The Kindle Compass.”

I’ve had my Kindle 3G for about a year and I absolutely love it. However, the ease with which you can spend money scared the crap out of me (one-click purchases, delivery charges), so I carefully set up my account to hedge against unwanted expenditures. I use Instapaper and my local library for 90% of my content, sending all items to my device via WiFi to avoid delivery costs.

Needless to say, I was surprised to see a notification for a subscription that I did not sign up for. At first I assumed it was associated with the library book I downloaded yesterday, but that didn’t make sense. My second thought was this was spam, but the URLs looked legitimate (see the email below). So I decided to do a little research.

I don’t think Amazon even knows what the “Kindle Compass” is. An Amazon search for “Kindle Compass” turns up results for a cover, a compass app and The Golden Compass. However, a quick Google search for “Kindle Compass subscription” reveals that many others received this same email and are as baffled as I am.

The Kindle Compass is (probably) Free

After going through the process of deactivating my subscription to The Kindle Compass (see below for instructions on how to deactivate your subscription), I’m fairly confident that it is a free publication, and I presume it is some sort of “get the most out of your Kindle” type guide. In my Subscription Settings it is listed as $0 monthly, which I gather is the regular rate. However, if this is the case, Amazon has done a very poor job communicating that fact.

Instead of sending me a welcome email to my complimentary subscription, the email says “Your free trial to The Kindle Compass (bi-weekly) has started – you can begin reading on your Kindle. If you enjoy your free trial, do nothing and your subscription will automatically continue at the monthly subscription rate.” They then list the current price ($0 a month, presumably because it is a free trial) along with the first billing date and payment method (namely the last four digits of my credit card).

As a consumer, I read that and think a) you signed me up for something I didn’t want and b) you’re going to charge me without my express permission after the free trial is over. I believe this is a case of poor communication more than shady business practices, but it’s nonetheless a hassle to consumers and a black eye for Amazon.

Here’s how to unsubscribe to your unwanted subscription to the Kindle Compass (or any Kindle subscription, for that matter):

How to Unsubscribe from The Kindle Compass

If you own a Kindle and receive an unsolicited email regarding your free trial kindle subscription to the Kindle Compass, here is how you can quickly unsubscribe.

  1. Log in to your Amazon account. While this email was in fact legitimate, I took the extra precaution of navigating directly to Amazon.com rather than clicking on the link in the message.
  2. Go to “Your Account” page. Click the “Your Account” link in the upper right hand corner of the website.
  3. Click “Manage Your Kindle.” Scroll to the Digital Content section and click on the “Manage Your Kindle” link.
  4. Click “Subscription Settings.” Under “Your Kindle Account” on the left-hand column, click the “Subscription Settings” link. You should see The Kindle Compass subscription here.
  5. Deactivate subscription with actions box. Click on the Actions box on the right hand side of your screen. It will have an option to deactivate your subscription to the Kindle Compass. You should receive a confirmation email that your subscription has been cancelled.