There were complaints about ‘obstacles’ to unsubscribing from Amazon Prime, such as complicated menus, garbled wording, confusing choices and warnings.
Amazon has pledged to make it easier for users to cancel their Prime subscription to comply with EU rules, following complaints from a number of consumer groups.
The tech giant will now allow EU and EEA consumers to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with just two clicks, using a prominent “cancel button”.
Amazon made the decision after a dialogue with the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, the Commission said today (1 July).
Complaints were submitted to the Commission in April 2021 by the European Consumer Organisation, the Norwegian Consumer Council and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue.
These consumer authorities noted a large number of “barriers” to unsubscribing from Amazon’s service, such as complicated navigation menus, garbled wording, confusing choices, and repeated nudges.
Amazon made the initial changes after a dialogue in 2021, more clearly labeling the cancel button and shortening the explanatory text. The text has now been further reduced so that consumers are not distracted by warnings and prevented from cancelling.
“Consumers should be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms,” said EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. “Choosing a subscription online can be very rewarding for consumers as it is often a very straightforward process, but the reverse action of unsubscribing should be just as easy.
“One thing is clear: manipulative design or ‘dark designs’ must be banned,” said Reynders.
The commission said Amazon is “committed” to implementing the new changes on all its EU websites and on all devices. The tech giant will be monitored by the Commission and national authorities to ensure it complies with EU consumer law.
Amazon has had a number of dealings with the European Commission over the years regarding its business practices. The tech giant was hit with a Statement of Objection in 2020, based on the company’s use of marketplace vendor data.
In 2017, an EU case led by competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager accused Amazon of cutting an illegal deal with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to drastically lower its tax bill.
The company was ordered to recover €250 million in back taxes. However, Amazon won its appeal against the ruling last year, after the EU’s general court said the European Commission did not provide the “necessary legal standard” to prove that Amazon had received favors from tax authorities.
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