My mother-in-law Alexandra is almost 80 years old and surfs the internet a lot. I think that’s great, at least until recently. The courier just stopped by her front door: with a Euro pallet and 160 one-liter packs of almond milk.

Obviously she had made a mistake when ordering. She wanted to avoid the mockery in the WhatsApp family group. So she didn’t say anything at first, stacked the Tetrapaks in her pantry and started distributing them in the neighborhood.

When the courier rang the bell again shortly afterwards to deliver 160 more boxes, Alexandra got a little panic. For breakfast with her grandchildren, she brought ten cartons of almond milk. And the conviction: “My Amazon account was hacked.”

A month later, a message popped up on my smartphone. “Got 160 in one pile again. But I intercepted it at the front door and didn’t accept it. I’m completely at a loss!”

I advised her to call Amazon. The customer advisor knew what to do: Alexandra had not only ordered 20 packs of eight instead of 20 containers of almond milk – she had also taken out a subscription for this quantity.

No wonder: When ordering muesli, nappies or lipsticks, continuous delivery is preselected on Amazon and is referred to as a savings subscription, even if customers don’t save anything. Experts call these tricks “dark patterns”, which are intended to urge users to make a decision.

This week the EU launched the Digital Services Act banning this scam. The ban could come into force as early as autumn 2023. A defeat for Amazon, Ryanair and Co., a triumph for my mother-in-law.

She is now even angrier about Amazon: she is ordering unusually large quantities of almond milk, the mail order company just wrote to her. You are therefore suspected of running a lively trade with the product.