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Amazon Dash Buttons Have Been Deemed Illegal In Germany For Giving Shoppers Basically No Information

Amazon’s Dash buttons do not provide enough information about the products that consumers are ordering or the price, the court ruled Thursday.

Last updated on January 11, 2019, at 2:17 p.m. ET

Posted on January 11, 2019, at 1:46 p.m. ET

Mark Lennihan / AP

Amazon’s thumb-sized Dash buttons, designed to order products with a simple click, violate consumer law for not providing enough information about the product or the price shoppers will automatically be charged, a German court ruled Thursday.

Dash buttons, which first launched in 2015 and came to Germany in 2016, are Wi-Fi connected devices that allow shoppers to reorder products from Amazon with a press of the button. They are linked to specific brands, like Tide, Charmin, Bounty, and Pampers. But prices on Amazon fluctuate, and consumers are not informed of the price of an order until after they’ve placed it. Amazon’s terms also give it the ability to change the price of delivery and even substitute a different product, in violation of consumer protection laws.

Verbraucherzentrale NRW, a German consumer protection group that brought the case against Amazon, argued that the buttons violate laws because they do not disclose the price of the product before a shopper agrees to buy the item. The group said in a statement that it supports innovation, but not if it puts the consumer at a disadvantage.

Germany is Amazon’s biggest market outside of the US. Amazon is currently undergoing an antitrust probe by the German government over its market dominance over third-party sellers, and whether the sale of Amazon-brand products has harmed other retailers and manufacturers.

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We are convinced the Dash Button and the corresponding app are in line with German legislation. Therefore, we’re going to appeal.”

Meanwhile, customers outside of Germany have complained on social media about not knowing the price of products when they order with a Dash button.

Went to repurchase the same model of pens on Amazon, and it turns out the price has doubled in 6 months. This is why the Dash button and ordering through Alexa are genius for Amazon - They don't give you the opportunity to compare the price.

@Amazon You guys need to have some notification sent out when an item tied to a dash button changes price. My items price more than doubled

Seriously disgusted with @amazon . Last time they shipped damaged @essentiawater bottles with pinhole fractures, had to wonder if someone tampered with it. Can't believe I got suckered into a dash button- the price fluctuates WILDLY with no notice. UNHAPPY!

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.