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

Consumer's Telegram May 2021

Insert of n. 38 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Which Precautions Must be Taken to Buy Them Safely

FFP2 masks have now become an object of our daily life and it is mandatory to wear them in many places. However, news regarding the confiscation of masks are published again and again, as they do not comply with the criteria of the FFP2 classification, despite the CE marking: they would therefore not protect people as much as they should. To overcome this problem, there is an online tool from the European Commission that helps to clarify ideas on the reliability of your FFP2 mask, with just a few clicks, by visiting the NANDO database site. In our press release you can read more information.


When can Consumers Expect a Refund

Those who booked a trip for Easter 2020 were forced to give it up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Italian emergency legislation had given travel service providers the possibility of issuing a voucher rather than refunding canceled holidays. Many have not yet been able to use their vouchers and are wondering if they can request a refund in cash.
Although most of the vouchers in 2020 were issued with a validity on paper of 12 months, following the conversion of “Decreto Rilancio” in July 2020 into law the validity has been extended to 18 months from the date of issue. The law expressly provided for its reimbursement in the event of partial or non-use, for contracts that should have been executed between 11 March and 30 September 2020 and whose termination took place by 31 July 2020. For further information:
However, another change to the detriment of consumers is on the horizon. With the conversion of the “Decreto Sostegno” into law, expected in the second half of May, the validity of the vouchers will most likely be extended to 24 months and the possibility of reimbursement will be further deferred:


Our Column About Online Scams

The web is always useful to learn about opportunities, to stay up to date with all your interests and with news from all over the world. But it's also fraught with pitfalls if you do not know how to use the network properly. This is why we curate a column, “Occhio alla truffa” ("Beware of scams"), in which we tell you about real cases of scams that have occurred, so that you can treasure them and avoid falling into the same traps. You can read the column at this link.

In October 2020, an Italian consumer placed an ad on a German online platform that manages offers for renting and selling apartments, relying on the platform's offer that had attracted him with the words "Find a buyer or tenant. now for free". However, the consumer soon noticed that his ad was having no effect, so he stopped using the service. In January 2021 he discovered that he had apparently taken out a paid subscription, for which he had to pay just under 180 Euros. The consumer objected to the request for payment, but the price to be paid had in the meantime risen to over 400 Euros due to additional debt collection costs.
The consumer then turned to the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy, which tried to reconstruct the registration process and came to the conclusion that the users of this platform were not actually clearly and unambiguously informed before the conclusion of the contract on the obligation to pay. As usual in cross-border disputes handled by the ECC, the case was shared with the colleagues of ECC Germany. After an initial refusal, thanks to the persistence of ECC Germany colleagues, the entrepreneur finally accepted the request for reimbursement of more than 417 Euros.