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European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram June 2015

Insert of n. 41 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre, Bolzano - Italy)


Breakfast at the European Consumer Centre Bozen/Bolzano

On May 9th the European Consumer Centre (ECC) invited representatives of the media to a press breakfast in their office in order to inform about current problematic cases. In the European Comunity live 500 million consumers who generate 57 % of GDP (gross domestic product). The European Commission wants to encourage a unified digital market. However, different studies have shown that consumers still hesitate too often when shopping online from a retailer of another EC-country. Since January 1st the European Consumer Centre Bozen/Bolzano has worked on 1000 problematic cases. Most of them concern the fields of air traffic, car rental and problems around warranty, delivery and withdrawal in connection with online purchases. On the homepage of the European Consumer Centre Bozen/Bolzano you'll find more information about Europe, consumers and their rights:


Withdrawal because of danger at the holiday resort

Political unrest, terrorist attacks and natural disasters may endanger the safety of tourists in the affected areas. In such situations for many consumers arises the question if they can withdraw without charge from the booked travel or if they have to pay a cancellation fee. The consumer can only withdraw without paying a contracutal penalty if there is an official warning by the Italian Foreign office of entering a dangerous country. More information about this issue you'll find here.

Case of the month
A consumer from Malta buys a new car from an Italian car dealer. The dealer demands the payment of the Italian value added tax (VAT) that makes up an amount of many thousands of euros. As soon as the consumer wanted to register the car in Malta, the payment of the VAT was demanded again: this time in favour of the Maltese state. The legal consultant of the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy-office Bozen/Bolzano was quite startled at the e-mail she received. The amount was really high and she did not have good experiences with solving such cases. However, European law provides clearly that new cars have to be taxed in the destination country – in this case in Malta – and not in the country of purchase, thus Italy.
Lo and behold, the Maltese colleague had contacted the consumer before the ECC even began to work on the case and said that the Italian car dealer had payed back the amount of the Italian VAT. He had kept it only as a security deposit until he had the evidence that the car had been registered abroad and VAT had been payed correctly. The ECC-employee could be relieved and closed the case satisfiedly.