Consumer's Telegram February 2018Insert of n. 13 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)
2017: record year for European Consumer Centre ItalyIn 2017 ECC Italy answered 3,886 information requests (+25 % compared to 2016) and 1,767 Italian consumers asked for help concerning disputes originated in purchases from companies based in an other EU Member State, Iceland or Norway (+26 % compared to 2016). ECC Italy supported these consumers and tried to resolve 1,255 complaints (+10 % compared to 2016) in an out-of-court settlement. While consumers from abroad lodged 82 % of these complaints against Italian companies (+23 % compared to 2016), the number of complaints of Italian consumers against companies from other EU-countries increased by 13.5 % (compared to 2016). The top-5 issues of complaints are: air travel (24.7 %), car rental (20 %), leisure services, events and culture (9.4 %), clothing and footwear (8.3%) and accommodation and restaurants (7.8 %). You can read more about our activities of the last year on our internet page www.euroconsumatori.org.
HOLIDAY AND TRAVELOnline travel agencies: the Italian competition authority AGCM imposes penalty of 4 million Euros for missing information and excessive credit card fees
The Italian competition authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza ed il Mercato – AGCM) has concluded six proceedings against professionals operating as online travel agencies through the websites www.it.lastminute.com, www.volagratis.com, www.opodo.it, www.govolo.it, www .edreams.it, www.gotogate.it. On the aforementioned internet sites, the Authority found that information was not sufficiently transparent and of immediate comprehension for the consumer, which hindered the exercise of the related rights. The complaints also concerned the application of a price surcharge in relation to the type of payment card used for the purchase of flights (credit card surcharge). These unjustified extra costs for credit card payments within the EU should not exist any longer: A so called PSD-2-directive has come into force since 13th January 2018. In some cases, the provision of a high-priced number for post-sales telephone assistance with and the lack of an e-mail address that the consumer can use to communicate effectively with the professional was also considered illegal. The Authority's investigative proceedings, for the violations indicated above ended with imposing administrative fines totalling 4 million Euros on the professionals involved.
Case of the month
At Munich airport the suitcase of an Italian consumer was damaged because of a carpet that had been laid unevenly by a media and marketing agency in the course of an event. The consumer reported the damage directly at the airport as well as at the marketing agency which was responsible for laying the carpet. Afterwards he asked the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy for help. The legal advisor of the ECC asked the consumer to indicate the original value of the suitcase; that is 1,095 Euro according to the list price. At the same time the advisor informed the consumer that only the value of time, that is the value at the time of damage, can be refunded. The consumer was able to prove that he had bought the suitcase only six months before. Not more than four weeks passed since the colleagues of ECC Germany had taken over the case and the consumer received from the insurance of the responsible marketing agency a confirmation that 1,000 Euros will be refunded for the damaged suitcase. "If only all cases could be solved immediately and beyond all our expectations!", thinks the legal advisor of ECC Italy hoping that this is only one of many cases that will be solved successfully by the ECC during the current year 2018.