Antitrust, 10 million fine to Amazon: “periodic purchase” option pre-set instead of “single purchase”. The company: we will appeal


By John

Amazon fined 10 million euros by the Antitrust for unfair commercial practices. On the website, a note from the authority explains, for a large selection of products, the “periodic purchase” option is pre-set instead of “single purchase”, thus limiting consumers' freedom of choice. The sanction by the Competition and Markets Authority was imposed jointly and severally on two companies of the Amazon group, the Luxembourg companies Amazon Services Europe and Amazon EU. Thanks to the preliminary investigation, the Antitrust has ascertained that on the Amazon web page where the characteristics of the selected item are described, the “periodic purchase” option is pre-set instead of “single purchase”, both for products sold by the same Amazon and for products sold by third parties on the marketplace.

«In this way – we read – consumers' freedom of choice is considerably limited. The graphic pre-tick of the recurring purchase induces you to periodically buy a product – even without actual need – thus limiting your choice. Furthermore, the conduct implemented by the group was deemed to be in conflict with the canon of professional diligence because an operator of Amazon's importance would be required to build online interfaces relating to purchasing processes in order to allow consumers to make commercial choices. free and aware.” At the start of the investigation, the pre-selection of paid fast delivery was also contested. With respect to this conduct, the Authority accepted the commitments proposed by Amazon which in the future will only predefine the free delivery option. Furthermore, the two companies will provide compensation to consumers who turned to Customer Service to complain about this conduct during 2023.

Amazon, 'strong disagreement with Antitrust, we are appealing'

“We strongly disagree with the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority and we intend to appeal.” Thus Amazon in a note after the Antitrust sanction. «Every day – we read – customers benefit from the “Subscribe and Save” program by saving money and time on periodic deliveries of products they use regularly». Amazon writes that since the launch of the program, customers have saved over 40 million euros, reiterating the priority “of gaining and maintaining customer trust and we will continue to work to offer them an excellent shopping experience”.