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

Consumer's Telegram April 2018

Insert of n. 29 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Tips of the European Consumer’s Centre about travel bookings

Someone who needs a contact person for a personal consultation and is not very familiar with e-commerce or payments via credit cards or debit cards, is probably in better hands with booking trips in a travel agency. If you browse for many offers on the internet you should consider that sometimes one click is enough to sign a legally binding and fee-based travel contract. Regardless of the fact that a holiday was booked in a travel agency or on the internet, a withdrawal free of charge is usually not possible in terms of tourist services.
No matter if booked online or offline – one basically has to distinguish between a package tour and an individual tour. An individual tour provides more flexibility and perhaps a favourable price. Though, the legislator provides for the consumer within the framework of a package tour a certain protection in case of insolvency or bankruptcy. There is no such protection for the individual traveller. Moreover the package tour travel right regulates the consumers’ rights when travel packages get changed or when the travel price is increased. For more information about this issue:

Consumers' rights

What is changing in 2018?

Shortly it will be possible to use the personal subscriptions for streaming services when one is in a different EU-country for a limited time. Morever, there is a fight to end the so-called Geo-blocking in general: Geographical barriers are a discriminating practice that hinder clients from accessing or buying online products or services of websites of another member state. A new regulation should prevent this as much as possible. From 1st July in all EU-countries consumers, who have bought a package tour, will be better protected. More information about the new features on the web site of the ECC.

Travel tips for young people

Apps for travelling abroad

When do I need a declaration of consent of my parents? How do I get medical help in an emergency case? Can I drink alcohol? The ECC Germany has issued a free App customised particularly for young people that provide for 15 EU-countries information for the rules in the respective holiday destination. In addition there are mentioned sights and festivals and there are given tips how to save money as young people have little to spend on. A checklist helps to think about all important things.

Case of the month
An Irish consumer had ordered directly on the website of a well-known Italian brand a designer bag. When the bag arrived it looked a bit different from the picture she had seen. The EU-consumer right fortunately provides a right of withdrawal for internet purchases of 14 days from the receipt of the good. Therefore our consumer asked for a return label via her user account on the website. Days went by but there was no sign of the return label. The consumer contacted the company via e-mail telling them about her problem but received only an automatic answer: Log in to your user account and apply for the return label. As she had already done that, she kept sending more e-mails to the company and always received the same answer. She eventually set up a new user account and applied again for the label, but this time she received immediately a sobering response: More than 14 days after the receipt of goods have passed and a withdrawal would not be possible any more. Our ECC was able to contact the company that eventually organised the collection of the bag through a courier service and paid the money back without delay. You will find more information about the consumers’ rights on online purchases on the website of the ECC.