Consumer's Telegram April 2020Insert of n. 29 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)
ONLINE PARTNER PORTALS AND ONLINE DATING AGENCIES
How to prevent being ripped off when looking for your sweetheartJust as in previous years, in 2019 the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy received numerous requests from consumers who complained about extraordinarily high fees of dating portals. When signing up to those portals, consumers are often not sufficiently informed which services are included in a free membership and which services are to be paid; information about terms and conditions for exercising the right of withdrawal are often unclear or do not exist, just as well as the information about unsubscribing the service that is either hard to find or simply not there at all. Please read on the website of the ECC how to prevent yourself from sliding into an unwanted fee-based membership.
What changes are brought about for consumersSince January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom is not a member of the EU any more. Until the end of the year the regulations of the transition period will be applied, that is to say, that for the time being there are no big changes for European consumers. When entering the country this year the identity card will still be sufficient, however, in 2021 one has to reckon that a passport could become obligatory. If air passenger rights or other passengers' rights, the regulation about roaming fees, EU-driving licences and European health insurance cards will remain unchanged as well after the transition period, is still uncertain at the moment. The European Consumer Centre UK is operating until at least the end of the transition period. Consumers with cross-border complaints concerning a company based in the UK, can keep on contacting the network of the European Consumer Centres and therefore also our office.
FRAUDS ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
The network of the European Consumers' Centres (ECC-Net) raises awarenessEvery day European consumers encounter through targeted advertising attractive offers on social networks. Social networks provide good opportunities to target consumers and to offer them bargains. For some companies endless possibilities are opened up to trick consumers in secret into fee-based subscriptions in order to get their money or their personal data. According to a recent study of the European Commission in the last two years 56% of European and 58% of Italian consumers have become victims of fraud on the web.
In the future consumers' rights will be protected even better by a new external warning system that has been introduced recently by the European Commisssion with a revision of the regulation about collaboration of consumer protection (CPC-Regulation) throughout Europe. The network of the European Consumer Centres can play an important role in the warning system.
Travellers' rights amid Covid-19
Last month the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy has provided advisory support to more than 1000 citizens about travellers' rights during the times of Covid-19. Consumers were often not able to travel because of general lockdowns. Many concerns were expressed about summer holidays that had already been booked before the outbreak of the crisis. There is great uncertainty about the development of the pandemic in Italy and the destination country. Furthermore, if one has to use one's leave days in order to stay at home during the lockdown, one might not have any days or weeks off left for summer. Last but not least, if one has unexpectedly lost one's source of income and possesses only limited financial resources, one can simply not afford a holiday any more.
The ECC has published a list with the most frequently asked questions about travellers' rights amid Covid-19 that will be constantly updated.