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Italian Antitrust Authority Fines Amazon €10 Million for Unfair Trade Practices

 |  April 24, 2024

Italy’s Antitrust Authority wielded its regulatory power, slapping a hefty fine of 10 million euros on retail giant Amazon. The penalty was imposed for what the authority deemed as unfair trade practices, specifically targeting the eCommerce behemoth’s automatic enrollment of customers into recurring purchase options.

At the heart of the matter lies the pre-set “recurring purchase” option, strategically placed for a broad spectrum of products on the www.amazon.it website. This default setting, as highlighted by the Antitrust Authority, not only applies to items directly sold by Amazon but also extends to third-party sellers operating through the platform.

In its official statement, the authority elucidated that the automatic ticking of the recurring purchase icon serves as a subtle nudging mechanism, coaxing consumers into periodic purchases, even when such acquisitions might be unnecessary. This practice, the authority argued, severely curtails consumer choice, tipping the scales in favor of repetitive transactions driven more by convenience than genuine need.

Moreover, the Antitrust Authority condemned Amazon’s conduct as falling short of the expected standards of professional diligence. As a prominent player in the eCommerce landscape, Amazon is obligated, the authority contended, to design online purchasing interfaces that empower consumers to make informed and uncoerced commercial decisions. The automatic opt-in to recurring purchases, it concluded, starkly contradicts this principle.

In a noteworthy revelation, the Antitrust Authority divulged that the fine was directed at two entities within the Amazon conglomerate. Both the Luxembourg-based Amazon Services Europe and Amazon EU found themselves in the regulatory crosshairs, facing the financial repercussions of their alleged transgressions.

Source: Ansa Brasil