Co-funded by
the European Union
European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office
E-COMMERCE

Tips for Christmas shopping on the internet

The European Consumer Centre (ECC) has prepared some helpful tips for consumers who order their Christmas presents on the internet. Here are the most important tips: Before the purchase one should take a closer look at the web site first: Does this site give the postal address of the company, an e-mail-address and a phone number or is this company only accessible by a contact form? Is a VAT number given? Does this site dispose of General Terms and Conditions with information about terms of payment and delivery, about conditions regarding the right of withdrawal and warranty? If only one of these questions is answered with NO then you should back away from the purchase. Compare the price of your desired object with the prices offered by other online shops. If the price is considerably lower than anywhere else, you will probably receive either nothing at all or counterfied goods. Considering the payment, you should opt for a possibly safe method such as payment by credit card. Quickly after having received the goods you should check carefully to see if the items are complete, correct and fully functional. In case something is out of order you should complain immediately by writing to the seller. Please notice that the period of withdrawal is 14 days starting from the day of delivery also with Christmas purchases. Therefore, it can be advantageous to ask your dear ones about their wishes already before you order on the internet. You will find more information on the website of the ECC.


AIR TRAVEL

A small guide by ECC

The European Consumer Centre has published a brochure for consumers travelling by plane about difficulties that can possibly arise before booking and travelling. In this brochure it will be explained what one should do in case of overbooking, cancellation or delay of a flight and what should be considered when packing suitcases and hand luggage. Moreover, one will find tips about how to complain correctly if the luggage does not arrive at its destination or is damaged and which rights air passengers have with disabilities and limited mobility. The brochure, which is free of charge, is available in pdf format and on the website of the ECC.


TRAVELLING BY TRAIN

EU Parliament wants to boost train passengers' rights

The European Parliament intends to introduce - among other measurements - increased compensation payments. The following compensation rates are planned: 50 per cent of the ticket prices in case of a delay of one hour, 75 per cent in case of a delay of one and a half hour and 100 per cent for a delay of two hours and more. There is still a long way ahead until this reform will become everyday reality: now the Council of the European Union has to decide upon it. The ECC informs on their website about the current valid train passengers' rights.


CASE OF THE MONTH
For two years Mr. P. has been paying rent for his son who is studying at university in Austria from his Italian bank account. A few months ago the consumer received post from the student's residence. They informed him that from September onwards payments will be only possible by a Sepa-Direct Debit procedure from an Austrian bank account. Mr. P. did not want to accept this, because this would mean that his son would be forced to open an Austrian bank account and this would imply extra account management costs. The consumer then contacted the Austrian bank of the student's residence which reassured him and explained that it was certainly possible to use SEPA Direct Debit as a method of payment also from an Italian account. With this information the consumer contacted the student's residence, but they did not show any understanding. Subsequently, he contacted the ECC Italy that forwarded the case to their colleagues of the ECC Austria. After a few weeks the Austrian colleagues could report good news: The student's residence accepted also payments of an Italian bank account.