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European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office
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27.08.2020

Passenger rights in Italy - Covid-19

 
The Italian government introduced specific rules for consumer contracts on occasion of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. These emergency laws were applicable from 11th March to 30th September 2020. Please note that for some cases there isn't a proper legal solution yet. In this list you will find the most important information for travelling by air, bus, train and waterways as well as accommodation services, package holidays, and cancelled events in Italy.
For more specific information and support please contact the European Consumer Centre (ECC) in your country of residence.
You will find a list of the ECCs here: https://bit.ly/3fWr9Px


Package travel:

If the consumer was prevented from travelling because of Government measures (i. e. travel restrictions/bans imposed by the country of residence or the country of destination, imposed quarantine, positive Covid-19 test result) and thus not allowed to use the service, or if the tour operator was prevented from providing a service due to Covid-19, the organiser could offer the consumer a substitute package of equivalent, higher or lower quality (with possible refund of the price difference), provide the cash refund or issue a voucher (with a validity period of 18 months from the date of issue) in the amount of the refund due. The tour operator could choose between an alternative package holiday, the refund, or a voucher.

Travelling by air, railway, sea, inland waterway or land transport

If the passenger was prevented from travelling because of Government measures (i. e. travel restrictions/bans imposed by the country of residence or the country of destination, imposed quarantine, positive Covid-19 test result) and thus not allowed to use the service, they were entitled to a cash refund or a voucher (with a validity period of 18 months from the date of issue) equal to the amount paid for the ticket. The carriers had the choice between a monetary refund or a voucher.

Limited to vouchers issued in relation to air, rail, sea, inland waterway or land transport contracts, the refund can be requested twelve months after issue (six months before the expiry date) and is paid within fourteen days of the request.

Under the Italian Covid-19 laws (Law no. 27 of 24/04/2020 with amendments of Law no. 77 of 17/07/2020) from March, 11th until September, 30th traders were allowed to provide the reimbursement of cancelled transport services by means of voucher, if the service was cancelled due to Covid-19. However, under EU law carriers have to offer the refund of the ticket or re-routing to passengers whose service has been cancelled. Thus, by the principle of supremacy of EU law, carriers should still be obliged to refund passengers under the EU passenger regulations.

You will find more information regarding the EU passenger rights and "Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights regulations in the context of the developing situation with Covid-19" published by the European Commission here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/


Hotels and accommodation:

If the business was prevented from providing a service or the consumer from receiving it, due to an explicit Covid-19 related measure of the authorities, they could withdraw from the contract: The accommodation service provider could issue the cash refund or voucher for the same amount (which can be redeemed within 18 months of issue). The choice was left to the accommodation service provider.


Event Tickets:

If an event was cancelled, the purchaser must apply to the organiser for a refund within 30 days of the entry into force of the Law No 77 of 17 July 2020 or as soon as they have been informed of the failure to provide the service, and must enclose proof of purchase. If further measures are adopted in the future, the application will be subject to a 30-day period from the adoption of these new measures. Once the organiser has verified that it is impossible to provide the service and therefore that the ticket, which is the subject of the refund application, is unusable, the organiser will issue a voucher for the amount of the ticket, which can be redeemed within 18 months of the date of issue.
It is further provided that promoters of concerts of light music will refund the tickets and directly reimburse the amount paid by the purchaser at the expiry of the voucher if the performance of the artist has been cancelled without postponement to another date, within the validity period of the voucher. In the event of a definitive cancellation of the concert, the organiser will immediately refund the amount paid by the purchaser.


Additional information regarding Vouchers:

Vouchers can be used within 18 months.

The provisions of the Law No 77 of 17 July 2020 apply also to all vouchers issued before the entry into force of the Law No 77 of 17 July 2020: vouchers that have not been redeemed within the validity period of 18 months (12 months in case of a transport contract) will be paid out.

The Law No 77 of 17 July 2020 provided the allocation of 5 million euros for 2020 and 1 million euros for 2021 to establish a fund at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism that will compensate consumers holding unused vouchers by the deadline if they are not reimbursed by the trader because they are in a state of insolvency or bankruptcy. The modalities and criteria of implementation, as well as the measure of compensation, will be governed in detail by a subsequent regulation, to be adopted within 180 days of the entry into force of the Law No 77 of 17 July 2020.


Situation as of 23/02/2020
 

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