Amazon’s legal team might be kicking themselves with the news that the company may have fallen afoul of EU legislation with the Dash Button. According to Out-Law, a technology law expert at Pinsent Masons, Daniel Widmann, found that the Dash Button only displays a brand and does not provide information on price, characteristics or delivery details on the goods that its users order. According to German law, all of these must be included for a purchase contract to be valid.
Without this information, the purchase process does not meet the requirements of purchase contract law in Germany. Also, because countries in the EU have similar laws, Amazon may encounter similar problems elsewhere.
According to Widmann: “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.'”
Because no contract has effectively been confirmed, Widmann suggested that a consumer is not obliged to pay for an order that originates from the Amazon Dash Buttons. Not only that, but there is no notification of a consumer’s right to withdraw.
According to Widmann: “The trader also has to inform the buyer of their right to withdraw. As this is not the case with the Amazon Dash Button, the consumer would have one year and 14 days to withdraw under German law, and some would even argue that they can use the product throughout that period.”
But Widmann said that “Amazon is likely to say that this is covered under a ‘master agreement’ when the consumer orders the Dash Button.”
Amazon’s Dash Buttons have officially launched in Austria, Germany and the U.K. The Amazon Dash Button is popular in the U.S. after launching in July 2015 and where it now includes over 100 products. One-third of U.K. households already have a smart device in their home, according to Salmon research, and Amazon Dash is expected to gain a similar following.