Brussels, 1 July 2022
Following a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, Amazon has committed to bringing its cancellation practices in line with EU consumer rules. The platform will enable consumers from the EU and EEA to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with just two clicks, using a prominent and clear “cancel button”. This change was necessary to comply with theEU rules on consumer protection and, in particular, with the Unfair commercial practices Directive. Following a complaint by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), the Norwegian Consumer Council and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, an action was launched in April 2021 by the Commission in cooperation with national consumer authorities. The reported cancellation practices consisted in a large number of hurdles to unsubscribe, including complicated navigation menus, skewed wording, confusing choices, and repeated nudging. Amazon has now committed to improve its cancellation policy and will implement the changes as of today.
Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said:
“Opting for an online subscriptions can be very handy for consumers as it is often a very straightforward process, but the reverse action of unsubscribing should be just as easy. Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms. One thing is clear: manipulative design or “dark patterns” must be banned. I welcome Amazon’s commitment to simplify their practices to allow consumers to unsubscribe freely and easily.”
Previously, to cancel their subscription, consumers had to scroll through multiple pages containing distracting information and unclear button labels. As a first measure resulting from this dialogue initiated in 2021, Amazon started making changes to its Prime web interface, labelling the cancel button more clearly and shortening the explanatory text. From now, this text will be further reduced so that consumers do not get distracted by warnings and deterred from cancelling. Overall, as a result of the dialogue, the platform will now enable consumers to unsubscribe in two simple steps, through an easy and visible cancellation button.
Amazon has committed to implementing these changes on all its EU websites and for all devices (desktop, mobile and tablet).
The Commission and national authorities will continue to monitor the implementation of Amazon’s commitments to align with EU consumer law.
The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) is a network of authorities responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. To tackle cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.
National authorities are responsible for the enforcement of EU consumer protection laws. Thanks to the updated Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they now have stronger powers to detect irregularities and take speedy action against rogue traders. Cooperation applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling, and passenger rights.
More information for subscribers:
Screenshots of the new cancelation procedure, that Amazon committed to implement:
Screenshots of the previous cancellation procedure (source: Report “You can log out, but you can never leave”, Norwegian Consumer Council) to illustrate distracting information and button labels
Source – EU Commission