Amazon, the biggest retailer in the West, has just released its latest innovation in the UK market: Amazon Dash. Dash allows customers to stay stocked up on life’s essentials without the need for shopping via a laptop or mobile device.
Customers order a physical Dash button, which is linked up to their Amazon account and dedicated to a certain product, such as a brand of washing machine tablets. Simply pushing the button next to the washing machine will send through an order and the product will be delivered within 24 hours.
Now, you may have spotted some holes in this logic but Amazon has thought ahead: to prevent children from pressing the button repeatedly and ordering hundreds of packs of Gillette razors, the button hibernates for 24 hours after being used. But this does not entirely overcome questions over authentication, security and cardholder consent.
The 24-hour time gap still provides a significant window of opportunity for mischievous infants or family members, friends or pets to order items without the cardholder’s consent! A single household could have up to 40 Dash devices and if these are unintentionally triggered, the account holder could be charged for hundreds of pounds’ worth of goods. Proving the legitimacy of the transaction may leave the retail giant in very murky waters indeed.
Aggrieved and frustrated customers who have not received an immediate refund may resort to calling their bank and issuing a chargeback. The chargeback system is weighted heavily in favour of the customer and in this situation, they have a good chance of retrieving the funds.
Recent reports suggest that the costs of chargebacks are rising by 216% and the Internet of Things, whereby devices are intelligently connected online, raises more questions about authorisation of payments.
Shopping for the bare necessities is a chore that Amazon is clearly bent on crushing. But when it comes to customer disputes and chargebacks, greater education is needed throughout the industry so consumers and merchants can operate safely and responsibly.