It looks like Amazon has abruptly ended its $12 per year plan that provides unlimited photo storage, which included RAW files and was a fantastic deal for photographers looking for a backup solution.
Subscribers of the plan, which was launched in March 2015, are taking to the Web to report receiving an email from Amazon informing them of the change. Amazon is offering customers free months of the Unlimited Storage plan, which costs $60 per year.
It seems that some people are being offered a standard 3-month free trial of the service, while others are being offered a 12-month free period. One user reports receiving this email:
Dear [customer name],
As of September 19, 2016, your Amazon Unlimited Photos storage plan is no longer available.
To replace this, we are giving you a free 3-month trial of the Unlimited Storage plan, which starts now and lets you store as many photos, videos, and other files as you like. When your Unlimited Storage trial ends in 3-months, you will be charged $59.99 for a one-year plan. You can cancel your trial at any time.
While another one says they got this one:
Dear [customer name],
As of September 19, 2016, your Amazon Unlimited Photos storage plan is no longer available for renewal. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
To replace your current plan, we are giving you 12 free months of the Unlimited Storage plan, which lets you store as many photos, videos, and other files as you like. When your promotional Unlimited Storage plan ends, you will be charged $59.99 for a one-year plan. You can cancel your promotional plan at any time.
This offer is valid until your current plan expires. Please accept this offer on the “Manage Storage” page.
The Amazon Drive website now states that Prime Photos is a service that’s “Included with Amazon Prime,” so it doesn’t look like Prime members will be losing their unlimited photo storage in this latest change.
The unlimited free trial being offered by Amazon will begin after the active paid subscriptions end, so if you’ve paid into 2017, then your 1-year trial will take you into 2018.
Unsurprisingly, customers of the $12 Unlimited Photos Plan aren’t happy with this plan ending.
“Complete BS!” writes one customer on Reddit. “This is what you can expect when the company gets too big and starts telling their customers to take it or leave it.”
“I went out to start exporting pics to Google drive and can’t seem to get them downloaded at the moment to even move them. $12 to $55, nice screw you markup.”
Others are calling the move a “bait and switch,” saying that Amazon should grandfather in existing customers who wish to keep paying $12 per year.
No word yet on what will happen to the data of customers who don’t wish to pay more for storage, but it seems that things will be deleted after a period of time. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
Update on 9/23/16: Here’s what Amazon tells us about the future of customers who don’t upgrade:
Customers who do not choose to upgrade their plan with Amazon Drive will now be considered “over quota,” which means that they can still access your photos, videos, and files to view, download, and delete for 90 days, but cannot upload any new files. After 90 days, your content may be permanently deleted from your Amazon Drive account. Once permanently deleted, we will be unable to retrieve your files.