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Amazon eases Prime cancelation process in Europe

Screenshot of Amazon Prime new cancelation procedure. Photo courtesy of European Commission
Screenshot of Amazon Prime new cancelation procedure. Photo courtesy of European Commission

July 5 (UPI) -- Amazon agreed to implement changes to make it easier for subscribers in Europe to cancel Prime after a complaint by European consumer groups claimed the company's website design breached European Union law.

Under the changes, consumers can cancel their Prime accounts "with just two clicks," instead of a drawn out process of misleading interfaces, known as "dark patterns," with "confusing choices" and "repeated nudging," according to the European Commission.

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"Opting for an online subscription 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," European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in the statement. "Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms."

Amazon committed on Friday to implement the changes, which apply to the European Union and European Economic Area, according to the European Commission.

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The changes were made to comply with the European Union's consumer protection rules following complaints from consumer groups, including the Norwegian Consumer Council.

The Norwegian Consumer Council said in a 30-page report in January 2021 that the process of unsubscribing from Amazon Prime "was riddled with a combination of manipulative design techniques, known as dark patterns," to get users to keep paying for the service.

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"One thing is clear: manipulative design or 'dark patterns' must be banned," Reynders said. "I welcome Amazon's commitment to simplify their practices to allow consumers to unsubscribe freely and easily."

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The Guardian reported that consumers in Britain will also be able to unsubscribe with just two clicks by the end of the month.

EU lawmakers reached a provisional agreement in April on the Digital Services Act that aims "to create a safer digital space." Under the act, "dark patterns" would be banned after the act is voted into law or from Jan. 1, 2024, whichever is later.

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