The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has urged trade associations of sellers (online and offline) and producers to remind their members of their obligation to provide correct information about software updates on smart devices. The trade associations have responded to this call, and have informed their members accordingly. ACM had previously raised this issue with major online sellers of ‘smart’ devices. The sellers said that, in the provision of information about software updates, they are dependent on the information coming from the producers of those smart devices, and that they do not always receive that information from producers. Producers must provide this information to sellers.
ACM has already seen that several major sellers have stepped up their provision of information about software updates, prior to the purchasing decision, to consumers that wish to buy ‘smart’ devices online, for example for how long consumers are guaranteed to receive updates, what the frequency of the updates will be, and what kind of updates the consumer can expect. In this way, consumers are able to take this information into account in their purchasing decisions. This is important, because smart devices without updates become unsafe, and may even become unusable. ACM welcomes the step that these major sellers have taken. It is a step in the right direction, and one that other competitors must also take. In that context, an investigation into another company is still ongoing.
Information when purchasing a smart device
Prior to the actual purchase, consumers should be informed about important features of the device. When purchasing smart devices, consumers should specifically be informed about what the product does, whether it can ‘connect’ to other devices, what to expect with regard to software updates, whether other services are needed in order to be able to use the device, and how the consumer’s personal data is handled. Producers that supply such devices should make this information available to sellers, who, in turn, should inform consumers.