Italy fines Amazon 10 million euros for alleged unfair commercial practices

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MILAN (Reuters) -Italy's antitrust authority has fined two subsidiaries of Amazon a total of 10 million euros ($10.7 million) for alleged unfair commercial practices, the regulator said on Wednesday, a decision the U.S. e-commerce giant said it would appeal.

Amazon "significantly restricted consumers' freedom of choice" by automatically pre-setting a 'Subscribe and Save' option on its website for a wide selection of products, the watchdog said.

In this way consumers were more likely to opt for regular scheduled deliveries rather than one-off purchases.

"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 authority said in a statement.

Amazon contested the decision and said it would appeal.

"Every day customers benefit from the Subscribe and Save program by saving money and time on regular deliveries of items they routinely use", it said in an emailed statement.

The 'Subscribe and Save' option, which allows customers to schedule periodic deliveries of everyday essentials with an extra discount against the price of a single purchase, has allowed savings of more than 40 million euros ($43 million) since its launch in Italy, the company added.

($1 = 0.9350 euros)

(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro and Matteo Negri; Editing by Gavin Jones and Mark Potter)