German judge: "Amazon Dash is illegal"

Photo: James W Copeland /

Amazon's Dash buttons, which allow customers to order toilet paper or powder detergent at the push of a button, are illegal in Germany. This is the verdict of a German court, but Amazon refuses to leave it at that.


No access to price information

Amazon's order buttons are said to violate German customer protection laws. Ordering through these buttons, consumers do not get any information on the price or on the product. As a result, a German judge has condemned them in response to a complaint filed by a local consumer body.


The consumer watchdog argues that customers should always be aware of what they are paying at the moment of a transaction and that is not the case with the Dash buttons. Amazon Dash involves wifi-connected buttons linked to specific brands. Customers can stick the buttons to any location in their homes. The buttons are connected to a specific product (such as Colgate toothpaste, Pampers diapers or Doritos chips). The idea is to replenish quickly when a supply is running out.


Amazon appeals

“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," says Wolfgang Schuldzinski, head of the consumer body according to Reuters.


An Amazon spokesperson raises the counterargument that the company is convinced that the buttons are in compliance with German law. Amazon will be appealing through other channels, even though the consumer body claims that the courts will not allow it.


“Hostile to innovation”

“Today’s ruling is not only hostile to innovation. It also stops customers from making an informed decision about whether a service like the Dash button gives them a convenient shopping experience," responds Amazon.


Apart from this controversy, Amazon is already under investigation in Germany due to the competition watchdog. They are researching whether the company is abusing its dominant position in the market towards external retailers who offer their wares on the marketplace. After the United States, Germany constitutes Amazon's largest market.