Amazon Dash buttons made illegal in Germany

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Amazon Dash
// Amazon’s Dash buttons now illegal in Germany following a complaint
// Its current terms allow Amazon to change the product being ordered without informing customer
// Amazon is planning to launch an appeal to the ruling

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Amazon’s Dash buttons have been made illegal in Germany after a higher state court ruled they did not provide customers with sufficient information on what they were buying.

The ecommerce giant launched its Dash buttons, which allow customers to re-order household items like toilet roll and washing powder at the touch of a button, in Germany, the UK and Austria in 2016.

Despite more than a hundred brands partnering with Amazon to launch their own Dash buttons since the technology was launched, German consumer watchdog Verbraucherzentrale NRW launched a legal challenge to Amazon regarding the terms of its service.

The challenge argued that the retailer’s terms allow it to change the customer’s original selection for a push purchase and substitute a different product or an alternative with a higher price point.

It added that Amazon also does not provide enough information about Dash purchases to customers.

Following the complaint judges ruled that Amazon should inform customers about the product and price before taking an order instead of after it has been made, agreeing that it did not provide sufficient information.

Amazon is planning to launch an appeal to the ruling.

“We are always open to innovation,” Verbraucherzentrale NRW’s consumer bureau chief Wolfgang Schuldzinski said.

“But if innovation is to put consumers at a disadvantage and to make price comparisons more difficult, then we use all means against them, as in this case.”

In response, Amazon told Tech Crunch that the “decision is not only against innovation, it also prevents customers from making an informed choice for themselves about whether a service like Dash Button is a convenient way for them to shop”.

“We are convinced the Dash Button and the corresponding app are in line with German legislation,” it added.

“Therefore, we’re going to appeal.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Some people are excited about new technology. Others are worried. They are afraid that hackers will steal private information from their phones and other devices. But there is no way to avoid this technology. Sensors connected to the Internet are appearing everywhere. They are linked by wireless technology. These connected sensors make up the Internet of Things.

    The number of connected things is growing fast. Many different things could soon be connected. Coffeemakers could pause when someone hits their alarm’s snooze button. Pipes could report their own leaks. This technology could help people and companies. It could save money and make life easier.

    The Situation
    Internet-connected objects are becoming common. In 2015, Amazon introduced Dash Buttons. These buttons can be placed around the house. Pressing them reorders things like soap and food. This year, GE put out a new washer. It can reorder detergent when it is running out. Lots of companies are making things like these.

    It is hard to get objects to talk to each other. For example, someone may need one smartphone app to turn up the heat and another to turn on a light. If these objects worked together, they would only need one app. Safety is an even bigger question. Anything connected to the Internet can be hacked. That means someone could break in through the Internet. They could steal information.

    The Background
    In 1982, some students put sensors in a Coca-Cola machine. They connected it to an early form of the Internet. Then they could tell if it was empty without walking to it.

    People started talking about the “Internet of Things” in 1999. At first, sensors were too expensive. The rise of smartphones led to lower prices. Sensors can now be used to track many things.

    The Argument
    Internet-connected objects can tell a lot about people. Hackers can use that to hurt them. The Internet of Things could make it easier for hackers to do that. The U.S. government is slowly making rules for safety.

    Companies are also learning what people will pay for different things. People will buy things that make life easier. For example, they might pay a lot for something that helps lower their bills. It could save them money over time.

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