Consumer's Telegram April 2021Insert of n. 29 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)
A lot to do in the Year of COVID-19The European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy recently published data about the work carried out in the past year, which proved to be extremely complicated due to COVID-19. The restrictive measures adopted at national and international level have significantly influenced the lives of consumers and the ECC was called upon to manage an unprecedented amount of requests: in 2020 the two Italian offices provided answers to 11,386 requests, twice as much compared to the previous year and of these, more than 4,900 were closely related to the pandemic. Furthermore, by supporting consumers by helping them solve 2,122 complaints, the CEC has recovered more than 220,000 euros. To these results are added the positive feedbacks on the web, both for social network activities and for the digital material produced: the websites of the two offices in Rome (ecc-netitalia.it) and Bolzano (euroconsumatori.org) counted an amount of 634,554 visits from unique users, 3 million total views of web pages and almost 300 thousand downloads of information documents and brochures produced by the Centre. More details at the link: https://www.euroconsumatori.org/it/news_it/631.
2020 was an Unprecedented TimeLast year, air travel was the most affected sector among those covered by the ECC. Almost three out of ten of all requests (3,219 out of 11,386) handled were connected to problems encountered in this field and almost two thirds, 2,089 (65%), were linked to implications of the Coronavirus. The recognition by some airlines of guaranteed consumer rights often remained wishful thinking. On the other hand, we are witnessing the insolvency of numerous airlines , which is not in the interest of consumers either, because there is the risk that only a few companies remain standing and that ticket prices become unproportionally high. It is important to find the right balance that leads to passengers being protected and airline companies avoiding to become bankrupt. For further information: https://www.euroconsumatori.org/it/news_it/633.
Pay attention to your savingsAt ECC Italy, consumers often report that they are having difficulties in contacting the broker of the online trading platform who had followed them up until recently. And almost all the complaints are about cases where money losses are nothing short of huge. To avoid running into scams of any kind, self-protection is key, following these steps: 1) be wary if it was not you who contacted the alleged consultant; 2) check if information is published on the website of the online trader such as the minimum amount required to open an account, how the investment operations to which the consumer adheres are carried out, what the cases of automatic closure of the account are in case of loss that exceeds a certain safety threshold; 3) always check the archive of "notices to savers" on the Consob website to check if the online trading platform you are interested in has already been reported. More information and a description of a case can be read at the link: https://www.euroconsumatori.org/it/news_it/629.
CASE OF THE MONTH
An Italian consumer bought a robotic vacuum cleaner online from a Luxembourgian trader for 600 euros. After more than 20 days, seeing that the package had not yet been delivered, he tried to contact the seller. To the consumer's surprise, the merchant replied that the delivery had already taken place. On the date indicated, however, the consumer was in the office, at work. But the data provided by the courier's GPS was clear: the latter had driven along the street where the consumer lived and had placed the package in his mailbox. For this reason, the trader had considered the delivery as having occurred in compliance with the anti-COVID rules. Failing to solve the problem on his own, the consumer turned to the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy which forwarded the file to ECC Luxembourg colleagues attaching a photo of the consumer's mailbox, the size of which was too small for the package. Furthermore, the European rules on distance contracts provide for a confirmation by the consumer, by signing or other method, of the successful delivery of the order. Thanks to the intervention of the ECC Luxembourg and the joint work of the ECC-Net, the consumer was reimbursed.