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European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram January 2015

Insert of n. 6 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre, Bolzano - Italy)


Antitrust imposes penalties on some Italian tour operators

Recently the Italian Authority for Competition an Consumer Protection (AGCM) dealt with the cancellation of some package tours due to a warning of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs against travels to Egypt. Because of political and social instabilities at that time some Italian tour operators neither refunded the entire travel costs to the consumers nor offered an equivalent alternative offer at the same price conditions.
Now the Authority for Competition an Consumer protection has accepted the commitments of six tour operators to refund the costs of cancelled travels to Egypt. These tour operators have promised to refund the withheld amounts and promised to inform about possible instabilities in the advertised holiday destination on their websites. Furthermore, they have assured to insert in their general terms and conditions – published in their catalogues – that they will refund the complete travel price, when the travel has to be cancelled due to reasons not attributable to the consumer.
In other cases the Authority has considered the commercial practices of the tour operator as aggressive when travel costs have been withheld even though travels to Egypt had been cancelled. The lack of information on the travel operators websites about the social and political situation in the travel destination at that time has been considered as unfair, because the consumer has to be informed properly in order to take a well-considered purchasing decision. More information you'll find on the site of the European Consumer Centre (ECC).


Santa Claus shops online, but you don't like the gift...

What about the right of withdrawal?
It was meant well, but you opened a present that you did not like: the trousers were too tight, the T-shirt was too large, the tie too boring, the newest DVD with the favourite blockbuster given twice.
The normal withdrawal period of 14 calendar days from the day of the delivery of the good is usually applied also to Christmas shopping. Unless the internet dealer has not noticed that since 13th June of this year the law has changed and the internet dealer has still published the formerly valid terms of condition on his or her website. For example, the internet dealer allows a right of withdrawal of only ten days or a registered letter. If the consumer is not informed correctly about his or her right of withdrawal, the period of the right of withdrawal ends after 12 months and 14 days. If the dealer provides these information some time within this period, the cooling-off period ends 14 days after having received the information. Please read on the site of the ECC what else you have to take into account concerning your right of withdrawal.

Case of the month

A French consumer bought a ticket for a ferry to Morocco through a travel office in his hometown. This ferry operator was an Italian company. When he wanted to go on holiday with his family he experienced an unpleasant surprise: the passage from the French home port was not possible due to bad weather and there was no hope for good weather within the next days. The consumer did not want to spend the major part of his holiday at the port, therefore he drove with his family 1500 km to the very south of Spain to travel by ferry of another operator across the Strait of Gibraltar. When he asked the Italian ferry operator for the refund of the ticket price, the operator offered him only a voucher. Subsequently, the consumer contacted the European Consumer Centre France.
According to the Regulation (EU) 1177/2010 concerning ship passenger rights the passenger is entitled to get his ticket price refunded when his ferry had been cancelled and when he has renounced his carriage at the earliest possible time. After the intervention of the European Consumer Centre Italy the Italian ferry operator corrected their mistake and refunded the ticket price by arranging a bank transfer.