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The labyrinth of steps you have to go through to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription is set to end in the UK after the online retail giant was forced to make it easier for users to leave.
As people grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, many might be rethinking their subscriptions in order to save on cash each month.
But when it comes to Amazon Prime, leaving the service - which provides access to the platform’s entertainment and free overnight delivery on purchases - can be a little complex, to put it lightly.
However, customers in the EU and EEA will now be able to unsubscribe with just two clicks through a more prominent and clear cancel button.
Amazon made the decision after a dialogue between the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities, which ruled that its cancellation process must comply with EU rules on consumer protection.
This followed on from a complaint made by various consumer groups which stated that ‘Amazon makes it unreasonably cumbersome to unsubscribe from the Amazon Prime service’.
According to a report detailing the complaint: “Consumers who want to leave the service are faced with a large number of hurdles, including complicated navigation menus, skewed wording, confusing choices, and repeated nudging.”
It continued, “In our opinion, the use of dark patterns to prevent consumers from leaving a service is in breach of consumer law,” adding that their use is ‘emblematic of a broader problem’.
The changes to Amazon Prime’s cancellation policy went into effect on 1 July, meaning it’ll be easier for people to unsubscribe if they choose to.
Speaking about the move, Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, said in a statement: “Opting for an online subscription can be very handy for consumers as it is often a very straightforward process, but the reverse action of unsubscribing should be just as easy.
“Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms.
When it comes to online services, unsubscribing should be just as quick and easy as subscribing.— Didier Reynders (@dreynders) July 1, 2022
I welcome @amazon's commitment to simplifying and clarifying the process for 🇪🇺 consumers to cancel #AmazonPrime subscriptions 📦 ⤵️https://t.co/FWM8qVhpfi pic.twitter.com/Ie6gFP7pt1
“One thing is clear: manipulative design or ‘dark patterns’ must be banned. I welcome Amazon’s commitment to simplify their practices to allow consumers to unsubscribe freely and easily.”
For those not in the know, dark patterns are tricks in website and app designs that either push or nudge users into making decisions for the benefit of the service provider.
The EU and the US have been updating their digital laws, tightening up the rules on dark patterning to ensure consumers are able to make free and informed choices.