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Amazon Prime changes its cancellation practices to comply with EU consumer regulation

LetsLaw / Derecho Digital  / Amazon Prime changes its cancellation practices to comply with EU consumer regulation
Amazon Prime cambia sus prácticas de cancelación para cumplir con la normativa de consumo de la UE

Amazon Prime changes its cancellation practices to comply with EU consumer regulation

You will be able to cancel Amazon Prime in just two clicks. Following the complaint filed by the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) in April 2021 with the European Commission, Amazon has sat down in dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, reaching a decision to commit to aligning its opt-out practices with EU consumer rules.

In this regard, the platform will allow consumers in the European Union and the European Economic Area to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with just two clicks, using a prominent and clear unsubscribe button.

What does EU consumer law say?

Amazon Prime cancellation practices reported by consumers referred to a large number of obstacles to unsubscribing, including complicated navigation menus, biased wording and confusing options. To cancel their subscription, consumers had to scroll through several pages containing distracting information and unclear buttons, with the aim of discouraging cancellation.

Such practices run counter to EU consumer protection laws, which state that the process of cancelling a subscription must be clear and offer no more friction and require no more steps than creating an account.

These types of practices used by Amazon are known as dark design patterns, which add obstacles to drive users to stay on the service rather than face the additional friction of the platform to unsubscribe.

Amazon has been collaborating with European institutions on this process since 2021. In this regard, the US company had already changed the Prime interface some time ago to make the unsubscribe button more prominent and the explanation text shorter. Thanks to the latest changes, the text will be further reduced so that users who want to cancel will not be dissuaded from continuing with the process, which will only require two clicks, just like the subscription.

Amazon’s move will affect all consumers in EU member states and European Economic Area countries.

Will other companies imitate Amazon Prime?

Countless popular websites and apps, from retailers and travel services to social networking companies, use the aforementioned dark patterns, or slightly coercive design tactics that are generally used to manipulate people’s digital behaviours.

These design tactics have been the subject of numerous complaints in recent months, and so far this year, multiple lawsuits have been filed against prominent tech companies for their alleged use of dark patterns to deceive users.

Unsubscribing from a service to which the consumer has previously subscribed should be as easy as signing up, in line with European regulations, so other companies should follow the example of the US e-commerce giant if they do not want to be subject to penalties.

Given the above, it is clear that users should be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from the platforms and, for this reason, procedures that manipulate or “cheat” consumers should not be allowed.

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