EPIC Files D.C. Consumer Protection Complaint Against Amazon Over Unfair and Deceptive User Interface
February 28, 2021
EPIC has filed a complaint with the D.C. Attorney General alleging that Amazon unlawfully employs manipulative "dark patterns" in the Amazon Prime subscription cancellation process. Dark patterns "are design features used to deceive, steer, or manipulate users into behavior that is profitable for an online service, but often harmful to users or contrary to their intent." Amazon employs dark patterns when customers attempt to cancel their Amazon Prime subscriptions, effectively preventing them from ending their memberships, charging users recurring fees, and continuing to collect, retain, and use the personal data of misdirected subscribers. EPIC's complaint calls on the D.C. Attorney General to halt Amazon's use of dark patterns. EPIC also warned the company that it is prepared to file suit under D.C.'s consumer protection law if Amazon fails to correct its unlawful business practices. EPIC recently signed onto a coalition letter urging the FTC to investigate Amazon's use of dark patterns in the Prime cancellation process.