Berliner Tageblatt - Italy fines Amazon over 'recurring' purchase option

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Italy fines Amazon over 'recurring' purchase option
Italy fines Amazon over 'recurring' purchase option / Photo: © AFP/File

Italy fines Amazon over 'recurring' purchase option

Italy's competition authority said Wednesday it had fined two Amazon companies 10 million euros ($10.6 million) for unfair commercial practices, for pushing customers into agreeing to "recurring" rather than "one-time" purchases online.

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In a statement, the AGCM said the option to set up regular purchases was "pre-selected by default" on a wide selection of products listed on Amazon's Italian website.

"The graphic layout of the pre-selected recurring purchase option may lead consumers to buy products periodically -- even when there is no actual need --thereby limiting their ability to choose freely," the AGCM said in a statement.

"Moreover, the conduct implemented by the company was deemed contrary to the standards of professional diligence.

"As a major operator, Amazon is expected to design its online interfaces, particularly those related to purchasing processes, in a manner that allows consumers to make free and informed commercial decisions."

As a result, the competition authority said it has fined two Amazon group companies, the Luxembourg-based Amazon Services Europe and Amazon EU.

The watchdog said it had also raised concerns about the pre-selection of the "paid fast delivery" option.

But it said it proposed no further action after Amazon agreed to pre-select only the free delivery option in future, and also to compensate consumers who complained last year about this conduct.