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

The Dark Sides of an Important EU Regulation

The geoblocking regulation (EU) 2018/30 came into force on December 3rd 2018. This regulation specifically prohibits online-providers of goods and services to exclude certain consumers because of their residence or their citizenship from their offer and bans to refer them automatically to other country-specific sites or to introduce unjustified aggravating business conditions. So far, so good. Nevertheless, there are still some problematic areas in which this regulations is unfortunately not applied. Sellers can still decide to exclude certain countries as delivering addresses as long as they provide the possibility for customers to collect the goods or to organise the delivery independently. Moreover, in future the delivery fees for different countries can vary and also with streaming services an unlimited use will be restricted because in this area copyright will be applied.
On the website of the European Consumer Centre some concrete examples about the weak points of this regulation are described.


E-COMMERCE

Christmas Presents online - How and When to Complain Correctly

Many of the presents consumers opened under the Chrismas tree had been bought on the internet. If the gift was not really appreciated, it is too late to send it back, because the time limit to exercise the right of withdrawal is only 14 calendar days starting from the time of the delivery. If the present, however, exhibits defects, one is still in time to complain by writing to the seller. The time limit to assert the claim of the defect is within two months starting from the date when it has been discovered. Further information about consumer rights when shopping online are provided for free in a brochure issued by the ECC.


TRAVELS

Your Rights do not go on Hols!

For a lot of people Christmas holidays meant travelling and visiting their dear ones, but not always everything went well. Fair enough, thanks to the European Union one has rights while travelling through Europe. No matter whether you fly with a low-cost airline or a traditional airline: The passenger rights provide for passengers compensations by airlines in case of overbooking, flight cancellations but also in case of a delay of more than three hours. The compensation has to be paid when cancellations or delays could have been avoided. Compensations are provided for travelling by train or by bus too. Read on the website of the ECC which absolute rights a traveller can claim (https://bit.ly/2SQm6Fd). There you will find sample letters (free downloads) to claim your rights.


CASE OF THE MONTH
Carsharing can be quite practical when one must drive short distances in big cities. For activation one has to register on the carsharing website, download an app and hold the smartphone out to the chosen car and the short rental period begins. The consumer should inspect the condition of the vehicle just like with any other rental contract and report already existing and untold damages at the beginning of the rental period.
An Italian consumer did not follow these precautions when he rented a carsharing car in Hamburg. Some weeks later the consumer received an e-mail with an invoice of 300,00 euros for damages on the car. Although the consumer was sure that the car had already been damaged before, he could not solve the problem. He contacted the office of the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy, that forwarded the case to the ECC Germany. The ECC Germany contacted the company that investigated the case again and eventually recognised that the damage had already occurred before the start of the rental period. Subsequently the request for payment was cancelled.