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German court restricts the use of Amazon's Dash buttons

By Polycount · 17 replies
Jan 11, 2019
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  1. Germany is known for its strong pro-consumer legislation, but some might argue that the country has gone a bit too far with its most recent ruling. As reported by Reuters, a German court decided on Thursday that Amazon's "Dash buttons" violate its consumer protection rules.

    Dash buttons, for the unaware, are $5 physical devices that allow customers to instantly re-order a pre-set product with the literal touch of a button. Some of the products Amazon supports with its Dash buttons are Tide pods, Charmin toilet paper, Glad trash bags, and much more.

    The German court in question feels that, because these buttons omit so much information -- such as a given item's current price and shipping cost -- they violate existing laws governing how transparent a business must be regarding the details of products it sells.

    As a result, the court has blocked Amazon from accepting orders placed through the devices in Germany.

    "Today's ruling is not only hostile to innovation. It also stops customers from making an informed decision about whether a service like the Dash button gives them a convenient shopping experience."

    Obviously, Amazon isn't going to take this decision lying down. "Today's ruling is not only hostile to innovation," an Amazon spokesperson told Reuters in a statement. "It also stops customers from making an informed decision about whether a service like the Dash button gives them a convenient shopping experience."

    Amazon plans to challenge the court's decision through "other legal channels," as the court says an appeal will not be granted.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +563

    "instantly re-order"

    "these buttons omit so much information -- such as a given item's current price and shipping cost"

    "stops customers from making an informed decision about whether a service like the Dash button gives them a convenient shopping experience"

    So, amazon is pissed because they aren't being allowed to blind charge customers? If they were truly innovative and thought in the customer's benefit, they would simply make it add to a wishlist or shopping cart. Instant blind re-order spells a disaster in my eyes. I can see a company trying to take over the world would be making excuses to allow it. All we need is a toddler instant ordering 62 crates of diapers unbeknownst to the parents...
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    This is a unmitigated disaster! Without his, (or her), trusty "Tide Pod Button", what happens when mom runs out, and it comes time to eat a few on the YouTube video he, (or she), was about to make?

    I say, "screw the court", stand your ground with your mates. Make yourselves heard. Let your wants, needs, and likes, ring out as loud and as clear as a bell, "we have great hunger, more Tide Pods for me and my men"! :rolleyes::laughing:
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,393   +3,780

    I have no sympathy for Amazon. They have long outgrown their "innovative" and "customer friendly" image. When they drop customers for returning too many things (even though the products were flawed), charge back customers on shipping for the same flawed goods, and allow advertisers to enter very vague information about their products they are getting exactly what they deserve .... no mercy!
    senketsu likes this.
  5. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 167   +207

    Seems like an easy fix here. Give the user a control panel where they can specify the maximum price and/or shipping increase they are OK with relative to the prices in effect at time they requested the Dash button. Have that default to $0. If there's ever a time when the consumer presses the button and the increase is greater than their preference, they get an email or text explaining the situation instead.

    Although I still don't understand the real issue here. Amazon has customer service, return policies, and competes in a crowded marketplace for these commodities. It's unlikely they could raise prices unreasonably high, and to the extent customers felt they did, many of them would just return it or demand and get compensation. Even if all they did was contact customer support to complain, Amazon is still losing money. Bottom line I do not see the realistic opportunity for abuse here that this court did.
    Sausagemeat, Eldritch and Adorerai like this.
  6. Adorerai

    Adorerai TS Enthusiast Posts: 53   +23

    Have you ever used a dash button or even read the details of how it works? If the parents had a dash button that orders 62 crates of diapers in the first place, another order of the same amount probably won't make too much if a difference for them. I mean they've already gone out of their way to order a dash button so they can conviently reorder 62 crates with a single tap.
  7. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 128   +126

    That is a great solution but Amazon will never agree to it. The whole idea behind dash is to take information away from customers so Amazon and its Dash partners can profit from price fluctuations, strengthen monopolies and make consumers ignore the money factor. Informed consumers are such a hassle.

    If you have any doubts about their motives just look at the pricing. Dash buttons are just $5.
    This is the same company who sells a small bass speaker for Alexa, separately for $130.
  8. Sausagemeat

    Sausagemeat TS Maniac Posts: 409   +205

    Of course, the public can’t be trusted with these advices! We are too stupid don’t you understand!?

    I’m so glad the German government is able to make decisions for us. They are so much smarter than the general population.
  9. Manuel Diego

    Manuel Diego TS Booster Posts: 56   +66

    This might come as a shock, but it's not a decision of the German government, but of a German court of justice, which is completely independent of the government, and which has an obligation of applying the laws. You make it look like it's a capricious decision, whereas it's just applying the consumer protection laws that germans have given themselves.
    senketsu and SalaSSin like this.
  10. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 382   +410

    That toddler will be a CEO someday.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    Only after he or she has been diagnosed as a sociopath.

    Wait, that's not entirely true. Most of them are undiagnosed sociopaths
    seeprime likes this.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    First a couple of quick pages on how to train a cat with a clicker:

    Next, a study on animals pushing a button to get food or cocaine:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893350/ (Please note that they must push a button to get either.).

    Dopamine, yeah we like dopamine:: http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-dopamine-and-is-it-to-blame-for-our-addictions-51268

    And last how technology gets us hooked: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/28/how-technology-gets-us-hooked

    Try and wrap your head around these concepts, since Amazon has already delved heavily into these black arts and weakness, to train humans as button pushing rats.

    It's really about time somebody tried to put the breaks on Jeff Bezos lust to become. "the Alexander the Great of retail sales".

    Maybe it's time for you to look inward, and try to discover your own weaknesses and addictions. Don't forget to study why it is your fantasy to believe that there should be no controls on people like Bezos, or companies like Amazon.
    senketsu and Eldritch like this.
  13. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 128   +126

    But...but. But we are humans. We are not animals at all. /s
    People are getting trained by upvotes/downvotes and other reinforcement learnings all the time but they simply don't realize how gullible they are. To be fair, Amazon is juts the tip, of a huge iceberg.
    captaincranky likes this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,972   +4,005

    But Mon ami, we certainly are animals. If fact some taxonomists believe we should be grouped in the genus "Pan", with the other chimp species. Pan troglodytes, is the common chimp, which does nothing but fight all day long. Pan paniscus is the "gracile chimp", who does nothing but screw all day.

    We would be "Pan sapiens", "the wise chimp", which works at both constantly, and with great alacrity. No wonder we're at the top of the food chain, right? After all, we did invent the atomic bomb, and "Fredericks of Hollywood".

    I think a better metaphor would be, "Jeff Bezos is just a wolf in sheep's clothing, gorging himself in the world's biggest pasture. You growl and go guy, don't leave a single wallet uneaten! (y) (Y) (Or for that matter, another live wolf in the pasture).:eek:
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    senketsu likes this.
  15. ArdvarkMaster

    ArdvarkMaster TS Booster Posts: 32   +26

    If you are actually buying $5 Dash Buttons, price fluctuations of Tide pods are probably not your highest concern.
  16. It all depends on how you see the world;
    1. It's just a convenient way to reorder stuff you use frequently without having to log in, add to cart, etc, etc. This is for your benefit
    2. It's a way for Amazon to reduce any time you might have to think twice about the purchase because all it takes is a momentary impulse and the button is pushed for goods you don't even know the cost of. Make the button as inexpensive as possible, you'll recover any loss easily by the more goods sold (you can even raise the price a little to be sure).
    This is for Amazon's benefit
    jtveg likes this.
  17. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    An even simpler solution is to just make an "add-to-cart" button, and the user can see what it costs and shipping estimates before placing the order.
    jtveg likes this.
  18. Ramsey Williams

    Ramsey Williams TS Rookie

    They are simply items of convenience. Like many other items of convenience, if you can't afford it, don't buy it. Like the old saying goes, anyone who questions the cost of fuel for their yacht, should not be buying a yacht. It's not like Amazon is handing them out for free, they cost money. And if you are willing to pay money for the convience, then that should be the buyers decision. I know a few friends who have a pantry full of dash buttons and they love them. When they run low on an item, push the button and it's replaced in 24 hours or less. I do not recall anyplace where Amazon declared that the item in question will be the lowest price available. It is simply for convenience. I am quite willing to pay an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas so I do not have to drive an additional 5 or 10 miles and wait in line for half an hour or more to save 2 bucks on a tankful of gas. Same goes for driving the same distance to save a buck on tide pods, or toilet paper. If you are able to spend hours bargain hunting and have a small warehouse to stock huge amounts of stuff, going to a big box discount warehouse, that's fine. But many people do not have the time, or desire, or possibly even tha ability to do so, so they will use their little 5 dollar buttons and avoid the hassles and travel to save a few pennies here and there. Amazon is not forcing anyone to use them, it is the buyers personal choice.

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