Online purchases: dark patterns, these traps to be wary of


It will soon be time to open her Christmas presents. But before that, there is still time for many French people to complete their purchases. With the emergence of e-commerce, there is no longer any need to leave home and queue for hours to race for gifts.

However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems and shopping online also means having to constantly avoid all kinds of scams and trader traps. Thus, it is important to always be on the lookout so as not to spend all your money.

Whether it is to push consumers to buy more or to subscribe to their newsletter, websites do not let their customers leave without having tried to wear them down to the bone. For this, they make use of practical numbers called dark patterns.

As defined by the UFC Que Choisir, these are techniques that “rely on the exploitation of cognitive biases to guide Internet users and encourage them to make choices that they would not necessarily have made in other terms.”

They have been known for years, but their use has intensified lately and it is better to be on the lookout for these practices. If they can be discussed ethically, these techniques are generally not illegal.

Dark patterns can take many forms and some are less obvious than others. The French consumer association has pinpointed the most commonly used. Discover them in our slideshow.