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European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Consumer's Telegram March 2019

Insert of n. 22 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Dating 2.0: Beware of expensive partner chats

Online partner portals clearly follow the current trend: They are allegedly reasonably priced, the effort is little and one remains anonymous when searching a partner.
For a start registration is free; however, one often concludes a paid premium membership that involves special prices. Nearly all contracts that are offered by online dating portals, will be extended automatically and this mainly at a far higher cost. Nevertheless, consumers are not aware of this and they receive payment requests of 250 EUR and more.
More information about this issue you will find on the website of the European Consumer Centre (ECC).


Italian competition authority (AGCM) penalises Ryan Air and Wizz Air

Recently the Italian competition authority (AGCM - Autorità Garante della Concorrenza et del Mercato) has closed two proceedings against the budget airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air. These proceedings have regarded regulations about prices for carrying large hand luggage (the classic trolley). The authority has found that their business practices are unfair because the consumer is left in uncertainty about the actual final price. In the basic rate carrying large hand luggage as a significant part of the contract of carriage is actually not included and the final price is almost always higher than the price indicated at the beginning of the booking procedure: this makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare prices with other airlines that include large hand luggage in the basic rate. More about these findings are found on the website of the competition authority.


Dubious streaming platforms still active

Repeatedly consumers report us that they had wanted to watch a movie for free on the internet and some time afterwards they received a payment request of more than 350 EUR for an annual subscription. Very likely providers of such streaming services are working with so called landing pages: Consumers land on the web site of the operator of the subscription trap after clicking the link found through the search engine. This can explain that no consumer remembers having seen a notice of a fee and the fact that it was a five days test subscription, although this information is well found on the official site of the provider. The site the consumer had landed on, probably looked very similar, only without these important information concerning consumer rights! Our advice: Do not pay, but react by sending one of our sample letters.

Rosa has to cover personal and unpredictable expenses. She found some advertisements through social networks that tout their products with slogans such as "Nobody will be turned down". On an internet site Rosa reads that credits will be granted also to those who have a low credit-rating: rate of interest 2%, monthly rates less than 200,00 EUR, no control of creditworthiness. Rosa is pleased to have eventually found a financier and asks for more information.
The contacted person turns out to be an agent who arranges a contact between the consumer and a private person called Carla, a French citizen, who will apparently arrange the credit with her. Carla encourages her via Whatsapp to conclude the credit contract and Rosa sends again via Whatsapp a copy of her identity card and telephone and energy bills. Furthermore, Rosa is persuaded to transfer more than 1,500 EUR for alleged costs in three stages on the German bank account of Carla for the transaction of the credit proceeding. Rosa does not receive the promised sum of money within the agreed date and first doubts arise over the trustworthiness of the credit provider. Therefore, she contacts the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy. The consultants recognise quite soon that this must be a fraud. The ECC provides advice on how to recognise such traps.