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Amazon.nl now informs customers about updates when purchasing smart devices

From now on, Amazon.nl will inform consumers better about software updates when they buy a 'smart' device from Amazon itself. This is done at the insistence of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Amazon now states with all smart devices that it sells itself, whether there is any information about updates. Amazon has also requested information on updates from its 50 largest suppliers of smart devices. Amazon will add that information to its product pages, so that consumers are able to take this into account when making their purchase decisions. As a result, ACM closes its investigation into Amazon.

Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: "It is important for consumers that Amazon, too, now provides information about updates for the smart devices they sell. Last fall, bol.com, Coolblue, and MediaMarkt already took this step. Amazon is now following suit. With this information, consumers are able to make a better choice."

Information when purchasing smart devices

Before buying smart devices, consumers should be able to know about the software-update policies of those devices. To that end, manufacturers that supply the devices must make that information available to sellers, such as Amazon in this case. Sellers, in turn, need to inform consumers.

In late 2019, ACM announced that it would investigate the extent to which online traders provided such information. On the basis of that inquiry, ACM concluded that traders of consumer electronics did not inform their customers sufficiently about software updates. ACM subsequently confronted several major traders. In 2020, three major traders (bol.com, Coolblue and MediaMarkt) expanded and improved the information on the product pages of many smart devices. Amazon now also provides this information.

What are smart devices?

More and more devices that consumers use are connected to the internet. This allows them to offer applications that other devices cannot. These are called 'smart' devices. Think of a digital assistant or a smart thermostat. All these devices use software and the internet in order to be able to provide these functions. These devices are connected to each other in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Consumer rights

Prior to purchasing a product, consumers have the right to receive all the information about that product's features and quality that is needed for being able to make an informed decision. Traders of smart devices that do not inform consumers about important features violate consumer rules. ACM may confront them with those violations, and impose a fine. The digital economy is a key topic on ACM’s Agenda.

ACM welcomes reports from consumers about their experiences with purchasing 'smart' devices, either before or after the purchase of the product