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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 05, 2016

Technology law expert questions legality of Amazon Dash in EU

As Amazon launches Dash buttons in Europe, one technology law expert highlights the possibility that they may fall foul of European Union legislation.

by Helen Leggatt

Amazon's wifi-connected devices that enable consumers to re-order household items with just the press of a button have officially launched in Germany, Austria and the U.K. Amazon's Dash Button service already has a large following in the U.S., and now incorporates more than 100 brands and products.

Recent research from digital agency Salmon has shown that, in the U.K. at least, consumers are ready for such connected devices to help them manage their household items. A third already have a smart, connected device in their home.

However, might Amazon's Dash Button find itself in trouble with EU legislation? Daniel Widmann, a technology law expert at Pinsent Masons, believes this may be the case. He told that, because the Dash Button only displays a brand, and no product or delivery information, the purchase process does not meet requirements under German purchase contract law. Furthermore, as German legislation is largely based on wider EU laws, more countries may face similar problems.

"There are further special obligations regarding consumers in electronic commerce. A valid consumer contract is only concluded when the consumer explicitly confirms that he or she undertakes to make a payment. There should be unambiguous wording, such as 'order and pay'. As there is no such wording on the Amazon Dash button, the consumer could theoretically order without being obliged to pay, as no contract has been closed," said Widmann.

He went on to explain that another issue regarding a consumer's 'right to withdraw' is also missing from the Dash Button.

However, Widmann suggests that Amazon will cite a 'master agreement', agreed to by consumers when they order a Dash Button, to ameliorate any concerns.

Tags: Amazon, Dash Button, ecommerce, EU, European Union, Internet of Things, law

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