Consumer's Telegram December 2021Insert of n. 93 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)
Unbeatable Prices for Fake BargainsNowadays consumers often prefer to buy their Christmas presents from the comfort of their own homes and do not want to miss out on any bargains. However, the European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy has always called for greater caution when shopping online so as to recognise scams before it is too late and the payment is already made. It is important to check the website of the shop carefully: if there is no detailed contact information or if the general terms and conditions do not provide details concerning the right of withdrawal and the legal guarantee, it is better to look elsewhere. A frequent problem reported by consumers who buy after clicking on ads on social networks is, that the price is paid cash to the postman on delivery without even knowing the identity of the seller. In such cases, an attempt to solve the complaint can hardly succeed as it is difficult to find out who the seller actually is. For useful tips on safe online bargain hunting, see our website.
COVID TRAVEL VOUCHERS
Guarantee Fund Implemented but not for EveryoneThe Italian guarantee fund to compensate holders of Covid vouchers issued by tour operators and carriers which were not reimbursed due to the insolvency or bankruptcy of the issuing commercial operator has finally been activated. The application must be submitted together with the unredeemed voucher and the refund request addressed to the trader within 12 noon on 31st December 2021. The precise submission modalities will be published through a specific notice on the website of the Ministry of Tourism. See our press release for more information.
No Likes for Unauthorised Online Trading on Social NetworksMany savers use the internet and in particular social media to find information on how to invest their money. However, the same tools are also used by fraudsters, who adapt quickly to new technologies and, conversely, use social networks to scam the less observant. Those who 'invest' through such channels often cannot hope to recover the amount invested. In order to avoid becoming easy targets for fraudsters, ECC Italy provides consumers with a few tips.
CASE OF THE MONTH
In January 2020, when the effects of the pandemic could not yet be predicted, an Italian consumer booked a stay at a hotel in Hamburg for the Easter holidays 2020 paying 800 euros. The lockdown and the strict travel ban in place in Italy prevented him from travelling and receiving any services, moreover the German hotel was not even allowed to receive guests for tourism purposes at that time.
The consumer asked for a refund, but the hotel only gave him a voucher for a new reservation valid for one year. The consumer was not able to use the voucher and in spring 2021 he asked for a refund again. Once again he received a negative answer: the voucher had expired and could not be renewed. The consumer turned to the European Consumer Centre Italy and it was possible to reach an amicable solution to the case. According to German law, the hotel should have reimbursed the amount from the beginning, since the hotel had not provided the service and could not have done so because of the ban on providing accommodation to tourists in force at the time. After the intervention of ECC Germany, the amount was finally credited to the consumer at the beginning of October 2021. As the saying goes: better late than never!