Consumer's Telegram November 2019Insert of n. 86 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)
Thomas Cook - bankruptcy - What can consumers do?Many consumers, who have been affected by the bankruptcy of the German and Austrian branches of the established holiday agency and its associated companies, have contacted the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy.
Consumers who have booked a package tour (e.g. a package including flight and accommodation) are at least partially insured against the insolvency of the travel agent. The insolvency insurance ensures that consumers have their paid amounts of money refunded in case the service can not be provided because of insolvency of the company. Even in case one had to pay the hotel a second time on-site, one can claim these expenses from the insolvency insurance by filing the corresponding receipts.
However, the insolvency insurance regards only package tours, while single flight bookings or hotel bookings are not insured in case of insolvency! Regardless which travel service has been booked, consumers, who have paid by credit card, should examine as soon as possible if they can submit a so-called chargeback request: This means that the refund to the consumer is provided by the credit card company.
Read more about how to activate the insolvency insurance on the page of the ECC.
Slovenian airline Adria Airways goes bankruptThe district court Kranj has intoduced the insolvency procedure against the Slovenian airline Adria Airways. Affected passengers can claim their expenses theoretically until 3 January 2020 within the insolvency procedure by sending a registered letter (in Slovenian) to the district council Kranj. The number of the procedure St 2704/2019, details of the creditor (full name and address) and the claimed amount from Adria Airways must be stated. One can download a form in Slovenian (and its Italian translation) from the website of the Roman office of the ECC Italy. There is however ittle hope that tickets for cancelled flights can be refunded this way. The ECC advises consumers who paid their ticket by credit card to refer to the card issuer and to activate "Charge back procedure" for their expenses.
TRAVELLING BY CAR
Where in Europe are winter tyres mandatory?The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Germany wanted to know it precisely and explains clearly on its website the applicable regulations regarding the obligation around winter equipment that are different from country to country.
In Austria, for example, it is mandatory to fit winter tyres from 1st November to 15th April in case roads are covered with ice, snow or slush. In France there is no general obligation for winter tyres. However, snow chains are mandatory if there is a special sign showing white tyres with snow chains on blue background. If also winter tyres are allowed instead of snow chains, one will find under the signpost the additional information: „Pneus neige admis“ or „Pneus hiver admis“. There is no regulation for winter equipment at all, for example, in Belgium, Greece, Great Britain, Malta, Demnmark, Ireland and Poland.
You find more information about the issue winter tyre legislation also in other European countries on the web site of the ECC Germany.
CASE OF THE MONTH
At the beginning of this summer a Dutch consumer ordered on an Italian website a very particular keyboard instrument, a mellotron, he needed for an upcoming music project. He paid 990 Euro and waited some weeks for the delivery. As soon as it was predictable that the delivery would not arrive in time for his project, he cancelled the order and asked for a refund. The consumer waited again for weeks - this time for the refund, but he did not even receive an answer to his requests. He eventually contacted the ECC in the Netherlands that forwarded the case to the ECC Italy. The intervention of the ECC was successful in the end: The company reacted after all and refunded the full amount.