E-commerce giant Amazon has bowed to pressure from the European Union and made it easier to cancel Prime subscriptions, the European Commission announced.
The move comes following repeated complaints from consumer groups. The grievances were taken to the European Executive in April 2021 by the European Consumer Organisation, Norwegian Consumer Council, and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue.
The consumer groups said users were made to pass through numerous hurdles, including complicated navigation menus, confusing choices, and skewed wording to unsubscribe from Prime, Amazon’s fast-shipping club.
The company will now allow users to unsubscribe from Prime with two clicks via a prominent ‘cancel button’, the Commission announced.
The changes will apply to Amazon websites for desktop devices, tablets, and mobiles in the European Union with immediate effect.
“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,” Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said.
Amazon said in its response to the move: “By design we make it clear and simple for customers to both sign up for or cancel their Prime membership.”
“We continually listen to feedback and look for ways to improve the customer experience, as we are doing here following constructive dialogue with the European Commission.”
The US retail giant’s move is being seen in many quarters as an ‘olive branch’ to the bloc, where it is facing antitrust cases. Latest reports suggest Amazon was seeking to settle two antitrust investigations, and potential hefty fines.
In November, the European Commission charged the company with using its size, data, and power to push its own products over rival merchants that sell on its platform. Amazon is now engaged in preliminary discussions with the bloc’s fair-trade panel and has offered concessions to address the concerns, people familiar with the discussions said.
With inputs from Reuters