Clarification on Amazon subscribe & save price changes

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Update just to confuse things further, Alice comments: “Update on my Amazon Subscribe & Save – I have 6 new subscriptions that shipped today. The price went up on one item, down on another item, and remained unchanged for the other 4. My credit card was charged the prices that the items were the day that I bought them, not the price it currently is. So no worries with Amazon for the first order – hope that helps :)

Please share your own experiences in comments! :)


There’s been some question about Amazon subscribe & save, and about whether purchasing an item with subscribe & save locks in your first shipment at the listed price at time of order. The answer, as Don and Outlander have found, is: No, it does not. The price can go up before your order is processed and the item is shipped.

We knew it was true of later shipments, where subscribe & save locks in your percent off, but does not lock in a price. However, it is apparently also true of the first shipment.

  • Update: Here is what I finally got out of them in chat myself: “Me:So if the price is now $10 with subscribe & save. And I order it for subscribe & save. And the price changes to $12 on Sept. 6, it will ship and charge me $12 on Sept. 8, not $10? Joanna [from Amazon]:Exactly Rachel”

Here’s a transcript Don shares of his chat with Amazon on the subject:

Me:I have a question regarding subscribe and save program please
Shane:Hello Don, my name is Shane. I will gladly assist you.
Me:TY …. with the subs and sv program , say i place and order today for x program which ships in say 7 days, can and does the price change?
x product i mean
does making a purchase lock the price or does it possibly change
Shane:If I understand you correctly Don , you would like to confirm if the price should drop relating to the item ordered, do you receive it at the lower price being offered at the time that the item ships, is that correct?
Me:for the initial purchase – i know subsequent shipments can change price
well, either lower or higher
Shane:You would be charged for the item at the price that is being advertised at the time that your order ships out.
Me:if i buy today and it ships next week, i want to know that the price i see and get an email on will not change
i pay when it ships but by buying today does that lock the price i will pay when it ships or can that price change up until the day it ships – in other words there is no way to know what the price will be?
Shane:Correct. There is no way to confirm the price you will be charged because the price does not lock.
Me:wow that seems like false adverting to me
when i hit the buy button for x amount today i would think i should know what i am paying
Shane:I completely understand Don however subscribe and save is saving on the price that an item is currently at on our site.
Me:you mean only percentage , not exact dollar amount?
Me:ok well , thank you – where is the dislike button?
lol – have a good one and thanks again

So, all I can do is continue to list the prices Amazon shows for subscribe & save, since everyone will have a different delivery date. Usually, but not always, the price remains pretty close, but it’s good to be aware that they may change. From Amazon’s subscribe & save site:

You’ll be charged for each order only when the item is shipped. The amount charged each time will reflect the price of the item on the day the order is processed less the Subscribe & Save discount, plus any applicable sales tax. Pay only for orders that have shipped. A credit card is required for Subscribe & Save orders.

(emphasis mine)

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  1. Connie says

    That’s correct, its always been that way. That’s why they send those notices out warning you of a shipment – you can always delay it and see if the price goes down, or go ahead and accept it.

    Its the same with the 5% – 15% discounts they have been offering for multiple subscriptions. They only apply if you pay attention and make sure your order meets the qualifications for that month. Just because one month you got 15% does not mean you will the next month. I’ve structured all of mine so they meet the 15% threshold, but I still have to be vigilant about it.

  2. Kristy says

    “A credit card is required for Subscribe & Save orders.”

    I have been using my debit card for the past few months. It’s listed on all my invoices as “Debit Card”.

  3. Kristina says

    Is there any way to see if the coupons we clipped are going to apply? I find the whole thing very confusing.

  4. Michele says

    I also contacted Amazon through email for clarification and they basically copied and pasted the terms they have on their website but additionally gave me a $20 credit to my account for the inconvenience. I will be emailing again. I don’t feel that this is a fair practice and will not be subscribing and “saving” in the future.

  5. Alice says

    Did they just change this policy? I started doing S&S last month, and I know that some of my products changed in price after I ordered them but before they were filled, and I still got the lower price.

  6. Jean says

    I have noticed this too. But I thought we were charged the price listed in the warning email. This says we’re charged the price the day order is processed.Hmmm…I may be done with Amazon. How can we tell what the price will be?

  7. Alice says

    This is an excerpt from my chat just now with Amazon. This jibes with my experience placing orders last month, while checking price increases/decreases for my products between ordering and shipping.

    You are correct, the price that you see the item for when you just subscribe will not always be the price you get the item at for future orders as the price my increase or decrease but you’ll still get the same 15 or 20 percent discount.
    Me:But the first time, it will be the price from the day that I ordered. Is that correct?
    Melecia:The price you place the order for with the discount. The price you pay when your order ships is what it was at the time the order was placed correct. Even if the price increase.

    • says

      You are now connected to Joanna from
      Me:I have a question about subscribe & save. If I place a NEW subscribe & save order now, but my shipment date is not until next month, does it lock in the price of my very first shipment? I understand the price of later shipments can change, but what about this FIRST one?
      Joanna:Hello, my name is Joanna. I’ll be happy to help you.
      Whatever changes we have to that particular item it will affect the price when you first place it
      Before it was : $10 (you have that item for several months already )
      Current price: $15 will be charge for $15
      that’s an example
      Me:That is not my question. I am not talking about future shipments. My question is about the VERY FIRST TIME it ships. I have a subscribe & save shipment date of sept. 08, say. I place a NEW order for a subscribe & save item TODAY. Does it ship at THAT PRICE on sept. 8, or does it ship at the price it is on Sept. 8.
      I mean, does it ship at the price I order at TODAY.
      Joanna:Yes it will be changed
      Me:So the price it is today is meaningless? I can’t order for subscribe & save at this price?
      Joanna:Probably Rachel but once that item was shipped with that price there will be no changes anymore.
      So it means that if that item will have lower price from the time of the shipment you’ll have that lowest price vice versa.
      Me:I’m kind of confused by your answer. “Probably” does not help me. What I want to know is does the price of the very first shipment change, if the price is different when it ships — again, I’m not talking about future shipments, just the FIRST one.
      Will it ship at the price I am looking at today, or the price it is in September. The FIRST shipment.
      Joanna:Alright Rachel let’s set an example.
      the item now is $10 & it was tagged & confirmed shipment Sept.8 ..during the long days before Sept.8 if the item is not yet shipped the price will change.
      Me:So if the price is now $10 with subscribe & save. And I order it for subscribe & save. And the price changes to $12 on Sept. 6, it will ship and charge me $12 on Sept. 8, not $10?
      Joanna:Exactly Rachel
      Me:Thanks, that’s what I needed to know.

      • DON OCONNELL says

        Im sorry and I do not normally swear but that whole pricing is just CRAP !!! I am also shocked that they can legally do this …. time to reconsider – might just go back to supporting the local stores

        • Nancy says

          You know, I am having a problem with an online vendor right now that has led me to the same conclusion: sometimes, it is better to just shop locally, even if I spend a dollar more. The hassle of resolving an online problem isn’t always worth the savings.

      • Alice says

        I guess it depends who you ask – I will hang on to my chat transcript just in case they change my prices :) I will double check my shipments again this month to test the theory and let you know the results.

      • DON OCONNELL says

        Close to $100 in my subscribe and save cart thus far this month ending on 22nd – ALL cancelled this morning, I am keeping my money this month and putting on my lil pouty face lol I am just not sure if I am more upset at myself for not realizing their pricing or at them for having this pricing SCHEME – this has to go right up to the line of legality …. I am now looking for organic coconut sugar as the original price with s and s would have been about $2 per 16 ozs…..

        • Beth says

          I do have to add to this that I have now been on the phone for over an hour with amazon about my subscribe and save order that I placed yesterday. I happen to notice today after looking through all of my confirmation emails that the order I placed yesterday, Aug. 12th wasn’t set to ship until Sept. 16th! That’s over a month away! When I tried to change the shipment date to sooner, the soonest it would let me change it to was Sept.1st – 2 1/2 weeks away! In my opinion, that gives them plenty of time to change those prices! I’ve never had a subscribe and save shipment set to ship any later than 7 days in the future, unless the item is out of stock.
          I have now been on the phone with Amazon CS for over an hour. They’re solution is to have me place a one time order and go in manually to adjust the prices. However, now after I placed the order, as she instructed, it went to ship so fast that she is unable to go in and adjust the prices the way she said she would.
          I never realized Amazon was so ass backwards this way!

          • DON OCONNELL says

            They know EXACTLY what they are doing , Bass Ackward – THIS would be US for letting them get away with it….. I have allowed this to go on for over 7-8 months…. shame on me I say.

            • Beth says

              I have to update to say that I wasn’t getting off the phone until my full discount was taken. She elevated it, and after spending 1 1/2 hours on the phone, her superior ended up giving me a refund for 1/2 of the total of my entire order – about $44. I’m happy with that simply because I’m jazzed I only spent $44 on all the items I bought, but still will be VERY CAREFUL with S&S in the future!

  8. Kristy says

    It does seem unfair that they charge you more when they raise the price, however, they do also automatically charge you less when they lower the price, as well. I’ve had items in my S&S or wishlist drop in price and they highlight that price decrease.

  9. VB says

    I have never used subscribe and save before and now I am kind of glad now. What do you do if the shipped and sold for price is higher than your buy price. Can you cancel or return without penalty/charges. This seems like a dishonest practice. Since they don’t give you a chance to agree to the price increase couldn’t this then be seen as an unauthorized charge to your card?

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