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Consumer's Telegram September 2010Insert of n. 55 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre, Bolzano - Italy)
TRAVELLER COMPLAINTS HORRIBLE HOLIDAYS?
How to gain Redress!
Many things concerning your holidays might go wrong. Therefore, the ECC has published a "Trip Advisor", a new brochure with information for travellers available for free on. However, also well-informed travellers might sometimes end up in unforeseeable situations in which they need to claim their rights. The first important step is to complain immediately and directly on site (if possible in a written form); in this way it may be possible to resolve the problem immediately. If you booked a package tour, the local agent of the tour operator is the right contact person. If the tour operator is not able to resolve the problem, the consumer has to send a written complaint (by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt) to the tour operator or the travel agency (depending on who is responsible) within 10 workdays after returning home. For this purpose it may be very useful to collect means of evidence on your holiday site (pictures, testimonials of other tourists who are also contactable after return, other evidence).There are also strict time limits for passengers' complaints concerning luggage loss, delay or damage. The rule is that the passenger whose luggage is damaged has to complain (in a written form) within 7 workdays, for delays of the luggage the time limit for complaints is 21 days after the handing over. In those cases the airlines also require an immediate report at the complaints counter of the airport and a properly filled in PIR-form (Property Irregularity Report). It is therefore absolutely necessary for passengers to complete these formalities, too.
Change of Departure Times resulting in a reduced Holiday Stay is Unfair Business PracticeNumerous consumers have told us that only a few days before departing for their package tour they were informed about a change of the departure times: the outward flight was postponed to the late afternoon while start of the return flight was moved up to the morning hours. As a result, two days of the well-deserved vacation ended up in smoke!Until recently, the consumers had to accept such situations and could only try to get back a reimbursement for the services that had not been used from the tour operator - often without success.The Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante per la Concorrenza ed il Mercato - AGCM) cleared the situation by imposing fines of more than 250,000Euros on two tour operators for this business practice. It declared that is unfair practice to change the travelling conditions, especially departure times, unilaterally without offering the consumer the possibility to retreat from the contract- The Italian text of the order can be found on www.agcm.it (page 54).
False Winner Notifications in CirculationA consumer of Bolzano was very surprised when he opened his letterbox. There was a letter from the USA - the sender seemed to be a mysterious institution named R.O.P.R. The content was incomprehensible or at least very difficult to understand, because it was written in faulty Italian; however, it said more or less this: the addressee was asked to sign a form and send it together with 20 Euros to an anonymous mailbox in the State of New York. Within 2010 the consumer should get the incredible sum of 2,500,000 Euros. Of course, the consumer did not want to waste 20 Euros and was wise enough not to follow the instructions.The ECC has known the trick with the false winner notifications for years. Our advise for the consumers is always the same: Do not react to such notifications and do absolutely never reveal your personal data or bank details, do not send a copy of your ID-card or even pay a sum in advance.
via Brennero 3
I - 39100 Bolzano
tel.: ++39 0471 980939
fax: ++39 0471 980239