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

Consumer's Telegram November 2014

Insert of n. 76 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre, Bolzano - Italy)


Searching for a flat to rent on the internet – Beware of frauds!

Ms T has just received the confirmation for a traineeship in Bruxelles and has to look for a flat to rent now. This is not so easy to do from Italy and therefore she searches the internet and finally finds an interesting offer on a Belgian site: From the pictures the flat looks perfect and Ms T. is asked to transfer part of the rent in advance. Even though she has never received the opportunity to look at the flat on the spot, she accepts the rental offer and transfers the requestet amount to a bank account in London. Only after her arrival in Bruxelles the consumer discovers that the flat does not exist at all and that she has been defrauded.
Expecially with rental offers on the internet a healthy distrust is necessary; this is the case especially when the rent seems to be too good a bargain! The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Bozen strongly advises not to make advanced payments without having taken a look at the flat on the spot. Only in this case one can be sure that the requested property really exists. You can find more information on the website of the ECC.


After rebukes by the European Commission car rental companies promise improvements

In August the European Commission published a communication addressed to several international car rental companies pleading to stop practices that prevent consumers on the basis of their place of residence from profiting from the best possible prices. Afterwards some companies admitted their error and were prepared to take corrective action. They committed to stop automatic rerouting on a specially created website of each consumer's country by determining the IP-addresse. Now consumers should be able to make a booking on the internet on any national website of car rental companies within the EU that allows them to choose the best possible prices. Different prices that depend on the place of residence of the consumer are only allowed when justified by objective reasons. EU law and especially the Services Directive prohibit unjustified discrimination on the basis of nationality or place of residence as regards access to a certain service. You will find a practical guide about the prohibition of discrimination prescribed by the Services Directive on the website of the European Commission.


Delayed, lost or damaged baggage – Don't miss deadline for complaints!

Your baggage doesn't appear on the conveyor belt in the destination airport or you notice that it has been damaged while it was under the care of the airline company? In these cases it is important to take the following steps: First of all you have to go directly to the "claims desk" at the airport to fill in the PIR-form (Property Irregularity Report). During the period of time in which your baggage is being searched and you need to purchase essential items, please remember to keep all your receipts in order to reclaim the costs later. Finally, complain in a written form. The passenger has to send a written compaint after that the baggage has been placed at his or her disposal again; within seven days in case of damage of the baggage and within 21 days in case of delay of the baggage. Sample letters for your complaints are available on the website of the ECC.

Case of the month

In April this year a case concerning an Irish consumer was sent to our in our office through the European Consumer Centre Ireland. During her stay in Rome the consumer bought a pullover of an Italian designer brand the collar of which wore out after it had been worn only once. ECC Italy immediately received an answer to the request, but the company described the alleged defect as a typical characteristic of the product and the refund was rejected first. As soon as our advisor tried again to solve the problem the company agreed to refund the complete purchase price of the piece of clothing. In this case customer satisfaction still seems to be important.