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

Consumer's Telegram October 2020

Insert of n. 77 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Social Commerce – a problem of data protection

The new version of online shopping, the so-called social commerce, allows companies to sell their products and services on the platforms of well-known social media sites. When trying to make a purchase the client is not redirected to a shopping website but completes the entire process on the social media platform. A double-edged sword for consumers: On the one hand, shopping for consumers is accelerated and simplified, but on the other hand, there are large gaps in terms of data protection. Social media channels do not display any random products, because these ads are based on an algorithm which selects items to display based on the consumers behavior regarding tags, comments, shares and views. This entails the risk of becoming a victim of targeted, aggressive marketing, and in the worst case, the stored data could even fall into the wrong hands. Further information on this topic can be found on our website at:


Package or individual tour?

The Rossis and the Maiers want to go on a holiday despite the Coronavirus. The Rossis are planning an individual trip, which means that all travel services, such as flights and hotels, are booked with different operators. The Maiers, on the other hand, book a package travel, that is, two or more travel services with a single organiser. From now on, the Maiers do not have to care about anything. If the flight is cancelled or the hotel must close, the tour operator will organise alternatives. If he cannot find any, the organiser will cancel the trip and refund the travel price at least in the form of a voucher. As fate would have it, two weeks before the departure there are numerous flight cancellations due to the outbreak of the Corona crisis. Neither the Rossis nor the tour operator of the Maiers can find a replacement flight. The trips fall through with the difference that the Rossis must pay the hotel cancellation fees. If the Rossis such as the Maiers had opted for the package tour and handled all services with one operator, this would not have happened. For more information on the package tours, please visit our website at:


If a journey is different than planned

Coronavirus always causes sudden suprises, especially on holiday. In most cases, a solution can be found. However, there are individual cases that are particularly hard hit. Thus, the luggage of a Maltese consumer was not put on the plane and he had to spend more than a week in the middle of the Congo, his destination, in quarantine without any personal belongings. A Dutch consumer, on the other hand, took her cat on a holiday to Chile. After the holiday, numerous return flights were cancelled and there were no animal-friendly alternatives – she was forced to leave her cat in Chile. More information on these kind of cases can be found on our website ( How specific your situation may be, the European Consumer Centre Italy (ECC) is trying to help you even in the most difficult situations.

Case of the month
Unfortunately, not an isolated case: A man meets a woman on the net, she confesses her love to him and at some point, she mentions an alleged problem, for the solution of which she needs money. These are problems such as illnesses in the family, financial difficulties, or simply needed money to “finally” visit the man. This happened in a case dealt with by the European Consumer Centre Italy (ECC). The consumer met a Russian woman on a single platform and experienced exactly those phases described above. After he had already transferred several amounts in the three-digit range to the woman, he finally contacted the ECC, which informed him about the fraud. This way he could be saved from transferring further money to the scammers.