Italy delivers €10 million fine to Amazon over 'unfair' commercial practices

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By Eleanor Butler
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Authorities say the firm's pre-ticking site design limits the freedom of choice for consumers.


Italy's antitrust authority has fined two Amazon subsidiaries €10 million for what it considers to be unfair commercial practices.

The complaint specifically relates to the firm's 'Subscribe and Save' option, which allows customers to set up recurring deliveries of frequently purchased items.

According to Italian officials, the automaticity of this function infringes on consumers' rights.

"The pre-ticking of recurring purchase induces one to periodically buy a product - even without the effective need - thus limiting one's freedom of choice," the antitrust body said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Amazon Italy published a press release on its 'Subscribe and Save' function, claiming that it is "designed to help customers save time and money on periodic deliveries".

The group argued that, since its launch in Italy, "Amazon customers have saved over 40 million euros thanks to orders placed with Subscribe and Save."

Also under scrutiny in the antitrust probe was Amazon's automatic selection of the fast delivery option, which costs more than standard delivery.

The company has said that, in the future, it will pre-select only the free delivery option, and Italian officials have accepted this commitment.

Customers in Italy who complained about Amazon's practices in 2023 will be offered compensation.

It is not the first time the Italian authorities have clashed with the big multinational.

In 2021, Amazon was fined €1.13 billion for pushing sellers on its site to use its own logistics service - FBA.

This was done "to the detriment of the logistics services offered by competing operators, as well as to strengthen its own dominant position", said the antitrust regulator.

Amazon argued that FBA was "a completely optional service".

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