Amazon, boohoo.com, Very and PrettyLittleThing accused of unethical online practices

Retailers Amazon, Very, PrettyLittleThing and boohoo.com accused by Sigma of using dark UX methods to trick customers into making unnecessary purchases on their websites

User experience (UX) agency Sigma has revealed the retailers it believes have been using dark UX patterns to ‘trick’ customers into buying good or services they may not have wanted.

Amazon, Very, PrettyLittleThing and boohoo.com, retailers that all sell cosmetics and personal care products, were among the retailers named by Sigma in its new report.

Examples of the dark UX patterns allegedly used include sales countdowns to create pressure on consumers to make impulse buys, or vague microcopy, which uses convoluted language to lure users into signing up to a product they may not want.

Retailers under scrutiny respond


Discussing popular online retailer Amazon, Sigma’s report read: “One year on from demonstrating an array of questionable design strategies - such as encouraging users to sign up to its Amazon Prime service, without clearly stipulating that the free trial would roll into a monthly payment - Amazon has been singled out once again for underhandedly attempting to upsell insurance products, by the same method.

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