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European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram March 2023

Insert of n. 22 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Flood of Payment Requests and Fines from Austria

Since mid-January 2023, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy has received numerous reports of payment requests mainly from Austria for allegedly unpaid tolls. However, many motorists report that they have paid the toll in cash but, given the elapsed time, cannot find the payment receipt or the copy of the digital vignette to prove it, or that they have correctly affixed the vignette to the windscreen of their vehicle. Such requests are probably related to the EU Directive No. 520/2019: Motorway operators are having easier access to the data of vehicle owners in order to demand payment of an unpaid toll. Read more on the ECC website about what to consider when using toll roads abroad.


What it is and what Risks it Entails

Influencer marketing is a widespread phenomenon, especially in social networks. Average consumers decide how to spend their money based on several factors, one of which is social proof: a psychological mechanism, functional to reassure users about their purchasing decisions, by leveraging the fact that other people have already purchased those particular products or services. For consumers to blindly rely on every influencer they follow, without awareness of the psychological mechanism exploited, can be risky. Alongside serious professional influencers, one may in fact come across others who are unprofessional or care little about the ethics with which they promote products. Moreover, like everyone else, influencers can also make mistakes and do promotions for less than honest companies. The world of influencer marketing is still poorly regulated, and while waiting for more precise rules on the subject, it is important to remember that promotional logic is followed in the posts promoted by influencers. More on the topic.


The right ticket: A campaign by AGCOM

More and more consumers are buying tickets for cultural or sporting events and concerts on the Internet. They do not always turn to the official sites of the event organisers or the official box offices, but sometimes end up on unauthorised so-called "secondary ticketing" sites and buy there at an often inflated price. A campaign by the Italian Authority for Communication Guarantees (AGCOM) with the hashtag #ilbigliettogiusto aims to educate consumers about this.

An Italian consumer ordered a pair of shoes from a German webshop. Payment was made by cash on delivery, directly to the courier. As the shoes did not fit, the consumer informed the seller in writing that she wished to exercise her right of withdrawal. She then filled out the return slip including her bank details and handed the package over to the courier for return. Although the courier was able to confirm that the package had arrived back at the shop, the refund of the purchase price did not arrive. Therefore, the consumer contacted the company that however refused to refund, claiming that the parcel had been automatically returned because the courier had not been able to deliver it. In the company's view, no payment had been made, so there would be no refund. Although the consumer could clearly prove that she had paid for the parcel, received it and handed it back to the courier a few days later, she fell on deaf ears with the seller and finally turned to the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy. With the help of the ECC Germany, we managed to resolve the complaint: The company refunded the consumer the purchase price by bank transfer.