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Amazon raises price of Prime service in Europe

Amazon reportedly raised its fees for European customers using the company's Prime service - which bundles streaming video, free shipping and other offerings in one package. Will the company raise the cost in the US, as well?

By Jeff SomogyiGuest blogger / February 23, 2014

An Amazon.com employee stocks products along one of the many miles of aisles at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Phoenix. The company is increasing the price of its Prime membership from $79 to $99 per year.

Ross D. Franklin/AP/File

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As we've previously reported, Amazon has been contemplating raising the cost of its popular Prime shipping service by as much as $40. However, when we polled our readers, that news didn't go over so well. In a DealNews survey, 65% of respondents said that they would definitely not pay more for the service.

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That said, Amazon's latest move might have many of you warming up your fingers, getting ready to do some cancellation-clicking, because we've learned that the mega-retailer has just hiked the price of Prime in Europe. An annual subscription in the UK jumped from £49 to £79 ($131) and from €29 to €49 ($67) in Germany. The ostensible reason for the overseas hikes is that Amazon has bundled Lovefilm, a previously stand-alone video-streaming service, into Prime and thinks it adds enough value to warrant a higher cost.

Since these price hikes are tied to the combining of services and, in the US of A, we already have our video bundled with our Prime, we should be safe from any price hijinx, right? Well, perhaps. Amazon's domestic video streaming options are generally considered to be scant and/or unsatisfactory, but if the site super-charged the content so that it's as good as Lovefilm supposedly is, Amazon may similarly feel that the service is worthy of a higher cost.

Of course, the other way to view this situation is to assume that the higher prices in Europe are setting a bad precedent, and it's only a matter of time before Amazon turns its price-enlarging ray on services in the US. There's also the third way to look at it, which is that we could all save a bit of money by moving to Germany, where the new "higher" price is still $12 less than it currently is in America. (Ich möchte Amazon Prime, bitte!)

Jeff Somogyi is a media editor for dealnews.com, where this story first appeared.

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