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the European Union
European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram Dicember 2016

Insert of n. 83 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre, Bolzano - Italy)


Online-Shopping: Avoiding unpleasant surprises under Christmas tree
There is a large choice on the internet and you can also save a lot of money, but you should take into account that deliveries can arrive in delay and the dealer can not meet the promised delivery deadline. Therefore it is important to order at an early stage so that one avoids the risk of ultimately being left empty-handed under the Christmas tree. An early order goes hand in hand with a further tipp of the ECC: This concerns the right of withdrawal. Attention: The right of withdrawal is not always applicable! You find further information about this issue on our homepage.


A consumer noticed the seductive offer of B5231: "Enchanting is the view in your adorable eyes and I can imagine that you also have a pleasant voice... I'd like to get to know you better." B5231 posted her picture on her profile with the following description: Woman, doctor, brown hair, blue eyes, spontanous and passionate.
The consumer unfortunately will not get to know B5231 personally as behind this profile is hidden a so called ICM-writer. The acronym ICM stands for Internet Contact Market. These writers pursue the objective that consumers remain in chatrooms due to payment in order to persuade them to spend even more money only chatting with the "ideal" profile. The Europan Consumers Centre provides advice about taking some measures that protect one from such tricks. .


Judgment against Airbnb
The court in San Francisco, home town of Airbnb delivered a judgment against the internet portal that has the potential to turn upside down the online market: Airbnb must examine if the houses in San Francisco promoted on the portal have been registered by the renter at the city council. This judgment stands in contradiction with the role that Airbnb allocated itself. This platform wants to convey houses in an intermediary role asking for fees without assuming liability for the contents of the users. The judgment ist so important because it can be assigned in a similar form also on E-commerce gigants like Amazon and Ebay. Also these platforms would be liable for the contents of users, for example, in the case of users selling counterfeit goods, the platform has to make sure that users apply governing law. It is most likely that Airbnb challenges the judgment. Also in Italy these rules are subject of debate over tougher regulations, especially in view of the taxation of the income. At present there is a discussion about a legislative proposal about Sharing-Economy. You find more information about the judgment on the site of the ECC Austria

Case of the month
A consumer from Iceland moved from the cool north to the warm south of Sardinia. In a three weeks time he travelled all over the island and enjoyed the mediterranean landscape. His passion for travelling led to disaster because he had suffered a nasty surprise already at a service station when the tank of his rented car could not hold petrol in the amount of 50 euros. The consumer had to stop the fuelling process early, even though he had inserted 50 euros in the self-service-machine. Subsequently, he aked a refund of the difference in the amount of 25 euros. The proprietor of the service station issued a voucher he could allegedly redeem in every service station of the same company in Sardinia. This was not the case: More than four service stations refused his voucher. Returned back home he sent a complaint to the headquarter of the petrol company in Rome. They were only prepared for extending the voucer by further six months. However, Mr. S. did not think about returning to Sardinia so quickly. Only after the intervention of the European Consumers Centre in Bolzano/Bozen the consumer received his credit back.