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Amazon Dash Buttons Deemed Illegal By German Court

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Germany isn't having it with Amazon's ultra-convenient Dash buttons. These, which lets users easily place orders at the push of a button, have been ruled as illegal by German court. Apparently, these devices are breaching consumer e-commerce rules in the country.

Released in 2015, these push-to-order buttons were an attempt on Amazon's part to lessen the friction off online shopping by encouraging consumers to slap their home with little buttons linked to their Amazon account.

Pushing one triggers an order. A Tide Dash button places an order for the detergent, for example. There are also buttons for cat food, coffee, dishwasher tablets, and even candy just to name a few.

Germany was among the first international markets to receive Dash buttons in 2016, in addition to the UK and Austria. However, a high state court in Munich ruled that the system fails to provide consumers with sufficient information about a purchase, as Reuters reports.

Amazon Dash Ruled Illegal In Germany

The ruling was handed after a regional consumer protection watchdog brought a case against the retailer, arguing that the Dash buttons violate laws that say shoppers should be well-informed about products they're paying for at the moment of transaction.

"We are always open to innovation. But if innovation means that the consumer is put at a disadvantage and price comparisons are made difficult then we fight that," said Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the consumer body.

A spokesperson for Amazon said that the company was convinced the Dash buttons complied with German law and that it would fight the ruling through other legal means. This is despite the consumer body saying the court would not grant an appeal. The spokesperson also called the ruling "hostile to innovation."

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

When In Germany

The legality of Dash buttons is only one of Amazon's troubles in German court. The company is also under investigation by Germany's antitrust authority over speculation that it's exploiting its market dominance in its relations with third-party retailers who use its website as a marketplace.

Amazon has also been facing a long-running fistfight with German unions over pay and conditions for its workers.

Whether the high state court grants the retailer an appeal remains to be determined, but Amazon has good reason to fight back: Germany is its second-biggest market.

It's not clear just how important Dash buttons are — Amazon hasn't shared how much they contribute to its overall profits.

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