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

Consumer's Telegram March 2024

Insert of n. 22 - Editorial office: Centro Europeo Consumatori (European Consumer Centre Italy - Bolzano office)


Influencer Marketing in Social Media

Influencer marketing has gained considerable popularity in recent years and has become an important advertising tool for companies, particularly to target young consumers. The aim of this marketing strategy is to influence consumers in their purchases, with the promotion of products by popular people or those with a strong following on social networks. It is not always easy for consumers to be aware of this phenomenon. In addition, there is a new danger on the horizon: the use of artificial intelligence and so-called 'deepfake' videos, i.e. artificially manipulated videos, often used to create misleading and deceptive content. Read on the website of the European Consumer Centre (ECC) how to avoid falling victim to deception and to which details to pay attention to.


Helicopter Rescue Can Cost Several Thousand Euros Abroad

The ski season is slowly coming to an end, but many ski enthusiasts still intend to spend the Easter holidays at some ski resort. Every year, the ECC receives several enquiries from people who have received a very high bill for helicopter rescue following an accident abroad (especially in Austria), totalling around 5,000 or even 8,000 euros, which is anything but easy to swallow. It is therefore advisable for ski enthusiasts who travel abroad to take out insurance in advance to cover such potential costs. The same applies to mountain enthusiasts in general: Anyone who has an accident while climbing or mountain biking, or even just suffers a medical emergency during a simple mountain hike and has to be rescued by helicopter, must also bear the costs.


EU Institutions Agree on the Right to Repair

The European Parliament and the European Council recently reached a political agreement on new rules for the right to repair. Under the legal guarantee, sellers will be obliged to offer repair, except when this proves to be more expensive than replacement. If the consumer chooses repair, the seller's liability period will be extended by 12 months from the moment the product is brought into conformity. However, the right to repair will also exist outside the legal guarantee. Consumers will be able to request repair from manufacturers for products that are technically repairable under EU law, such as household appliances. Furthermore, a platform will be created to connect consumers with repairers and sellers of refurbished goods in their area. For the right to repair to become a reality, however, it will still take time. In fact, once the relevant Directive enters into force, the various Member States will have to adopt rules at national level to transpose it. For more information.

An Italian consumer had booked a flight ticket for a domestic flight in Italy operated by a Spanish carrier, for herself and her young son. Unfortunately, however, the day before the trip, her son suffered a minor accident and a mild concussion while ice skating. The doctor who was treating him, strongly advised against travelling by plane the next day. The consumer's husband immediately contacted the airline, informed them of the accident and cancelled the ticket. However, the airline did not issue a refund and the family asked ECC Italy for help. The latter forwarded the case to ECC Spain, which contacted the carrier referring to Article 945 of the Italian Code of Navigation: If passengers are unable to take the booked flight due to a hindrance beyond their control, they are entitled to a refund if they inform the air carrier in a timely manner of the hindrance. Following the intervention of ECC Spain, the airline eventually refunded the ticket price for both passengers.