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The catch with Amazon's Subscribe & Save program

Posted at 7:40 AM, Sep 14, 2016

The newest way to shop for things you buy over again is with Amazon's Subscribe and Save program.

Have you tried it? It automatically refills your orders for staples like detergent and trash bags, and gives you a small discount over Amazon's everyday prices. It's especially great for diapers, where Amazon currently gives a 20-percent discount over list price.

But a new report claims there's a catch that could be costly.

Cost varies each time

Subscribe and Save takes some of the frustration out of kitchen and laundry chores. No more running out of detergent, no more empty toilet paper holder.

It's similar to a Netflix subscription, except for one big difference: The cost is not always the same.

A recent report in The New York Times says prices of staples change daily on Amazon, leading to sticker shock if you re-order on the wrong day.

Example: Folgers coffee. The Times found a a large canister priced at $6 in June, $12 in August, but back down to $7 in September.

Can't lock in a price

And from the doesn't that stink file, the fact that you can't lock in a fixed rate with Amazon's Subscribe and Save program.

The New York Times says Amazon's prices vary according to supply and demand, which means you are at the mercy of their computer algorithms.

Pay too much and you'll say "Doesn't that stink?"

The only option is to skip the automatic refills and order the items manually, watching the price you pay. That takes away the whole idea of a subscription plan.

Subscribe and Save is convenient, and it can save money over the grocery store.

But my advice: Watch your credit card statement for unexpected price hikes, so you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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