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.