Co-funded by
the European Union
European Consumer Centre (ECC) Italy Bolzano office

Voucher without value

A consumer from Iceland moved from the cool north to the warm south of Sardinia. In a three weeks time he travelled all over the island and enjoyed the mediterranean landscape. His passion for travelling led to disaster because he had suffered a nasty surprise already at a service station when the tank of his rented car could not hold petrol in the amount of 50 euros. The consumer had to stop the fuelling process early, even though he had inserted 50 euros in the self-service-machine. Subsequently, he aked a refund of the difference in the amount of 25 euros. The proprietor of the service station issued a voucher he could allegedly redeem in every service station of the same company in Sardinia. This was not the case: More than four service stations refused his voucher. Returned back home he sent a complaint to the headquarter of the petrol company in Rome. They were only prepared for extending the voucer by further six months. However, Mr. S. did not think about returning to Sardinia so quickly. Only after the intervention of the European Consumers Centre in Bolzano/Bozen the consumer received his credit back.

Robbery in the hotel

Family P. from Belgium booked their „white week“ in South Tyrol like every year. After they had arrived in the hotel hungrily and exhausted, they left their luggage in their room and went to dinner in the dining room in the lower floor. When they returned to their room a nasty surprise awaited them: Thiefs had gained access to the hotel room and stole all valuable goods, such as watches, wallets, jewellery, car key and identity documents. The family notified the theft at the reception but the hotel owner did not feel responsible at all. Family P. filed a complaint at the police and asked for help at the European Consumers Centre in Belgium, that contacted immediately the ECC-office in Bolzano/Bozen. Even though the Civil Code provides for the liability of the host (also the hundredfold room price) in case of damage, destruction or theft of the guests’ personal items, the hotel owner did not want to know anything about a refund. With the support of the ECC office Bozen/Bolzano and the ECC Belgium one tried to apply a so called “small claim” – an arbitration proceeding for small legal disputes - that brought in a refund of 2000 euros from the hotel owner. You will learn more about “small claim” on

In the bed with bedbugs

Ms. Frida, an Austrian consumer, was looking forward to a holiday with her family in a pleasant camping site in Tuscany. Since years she has rented a pitch, where she expected an unspoilt environment and where their caravan was immersed in the green. One day she woke up and found that she had been a victim of parsites! Red spots of bug bites covered her body due to badly washed sheets. Frida contacted a doctor, interrupted her stay and returned to Vienna with her family. More than a month had passed, until the spots on her body disappeared: A long time in which she even had to to take medicines. Frida contacted ECC Vienna that subsequently got in touch with their colleagues of our office in Bolzano/Bozen and a complaint was sent to the camping site. Ms. Frida got back 75 % of the payed booking price and this matter could be settled.

Overbooking in the hotel

An Italian consumer booked through an Austrian travel agency a package tour in the Caribbean for herself and her husband. After their arrival in the resort the consumer was refused to enter the hotel they had booked and they were accommodated in another hotel instead. The explanation given was that the consumer – even though Italian citizen – started their journey from a German airport. The consumer complained to the Austrian travel agency and they offered a compensation in the amount of 200 Euro. However, the consumer did not accept this offer and contacted therefore the European Consumer Centre Italy – office Bolzano/Bozen, that called the ECC Austria to intervene against the Austrian agent. The intervention of the ECC-Austria colleagues was successful because after having re-examined the situation, the travel agent offered to the consumer a compensation in the amount of 500 euros. The travel agency admitted on this occasion, that the booked hotel had probably been overbooked.

Faked watch on the internet

Mister K. participated in an auction for a designer watch on eBay and received the bid for 150 Euro. Payment to a private seller from Great Britain was made by a well-known online paying-system based in Luxembourg. Some days later the packet arrived with the auctioned watch. However, the pleasure about the designer accessory did not last too long: Mister K. had doubts about the quality and let a jeweller check the item for its authenticity. In fact, the jeweller found that the designer watch was a counterfeit in the value of only 10 Euro. He was very disappointed and Mister K. contacted the online paying system that told him to send the watch back to its seller and he will get his money back. The consumer did as he was told, but his packet got lost during the delivery. Consequently, the company refused to refund the money. Mister K. asked ECC-Italy - office Bolzano-Bozen for help and they got in touch with their colleagues of ECC-Luxembourg. And, in fact, the intervention of these colleagues was successful: The company refunded Mister K. his money as a gesture of good will.

Other country – other prices on the internet?

With the beginning of the warm season many consumers are enjoying a small shopping tour – especially in the field of fashion. Mr. L., a Belgian consumer, decided to look for bargains online in order to get one or more items from Italian sales portals. Mr. L. is probably a very critical consumer and remembers, after his decision to buy a cool jacket, that on the portal he was asked about his origin at the beginning of his virtual tour. Mr. L. finds that he must pay 137 Euro when he declares Belgium as country of delivery. Otherwise, declaring himself as Italian, he would pay only 88 Euro for the same jacket. L. feels discriminated and contacts the Belgic ECC, that forwards the case to ECC Bolzano/Bozen. Small differences in price can be acknowledged by European law according to justified and objective reasons. Nevertheless, there is no way to accept an obvious price difference as the case of Mr. L. shows. The ECC Bolzano/Bozen solves the problem by contacting the Italian company and telling them about the Services Directive. Subsequently, the company corrected the price according to the consumer’s wish.

Dog on board

For the first time in his life Mister M. decides to go on holiday by plane together with his beloved four-legged companion. It is not a large animal but a lapdog for whom a small cage and an appropriate flight ticket would do. Mister M. orders the tickets for the whole family: Wife, son and dog. He uses the possibility to perform an online check-in for saving time. However, as soon as he finds himself at the departure gate, the ground staff of the Spanish airline tells him that online check-in is not possible. Mister M. is wondering why this possiblity was granted at all and sends a complaint to the airline demanding a refund of the ticket and all other expenses that were caused returning back home and renewing the ticket for the dog the next day (this time without any online-check-in!). The airline was prepared for refunding the ticket but not the further expenses.

Ordered like (not) seen

An Italian consumer ordered at a German online-seller two used, but flawless mud guards for the car at the prize of 350 Euro. Since the good had not been delivered, the consumer asked about the shipping. The company told the consumer that the good had been delivered but had returned again because the package was alledgedly too large. The consumer even had to pay 40 Euro extra because shipping for a large package would be more expensive. The consumer agreed. However, as soon as the consumer noticed that the used mud guards were not really flawless and showed scratches and dents, the consumer wanted to cancel the order at all. The company promised to refund 350 Euro that were paid in advance, but the transaction has never been completed. Therefore, the consumer contacted ECC Bolzano/Bozen that asked for intervention of ECC Germany. They were successful and within a short period of time the consumer got the money back.

Expensive shoes online and no warranty

An Austrian consumer ordered at an Italian online-dealer a pair of shoes at the price of 170 Euro. Six weeks after the delivery, she noticed that a seam had torn off even though she had hardly worn them. The consumer made a complaint at the company twice but did not receive an answer. In the end she contacted ECC Austria that entrusted ECC Bolzano with the complaint. The company reacted quickly to the letter of complaint. They asked the consumer to send back the damaged shoes. As soon as they had arrived at the seller, the consumer immediately got back the purchase price.

Basic needs – if baggage gets lost

Baggage transport on flight travels are sometimes met with obstacles. One has to keep an eye on weight, form and content and has to hope that the baggage arrives in time and without damage in the destination airport. A Spanish consumer, Patricia, can tell a story about it. On an airport in Sardinia she did not get her suitcase and repurchased its full content until the very last accessoire in Sardinia. Some days later the missing suitcase was found again and was given to the consumer. She had presented a demand for reimbursement of the expenses, but had to bite the bullet: Air companies are legally obligated to refund only the expenses for „basic needs“, such as toiletries, basic clothing or medications. Who thinks to get new and expensive clothes at the expense of the airline will be disappointed deeply!

Car rental with obstacles

Any consumer can very often be confronted with insurmountable obstacles when facing problems with car rental companies. This happened to a Spanish consumer, who had rented a car to spend a romantic weekend with his partner on the Amalfi Coast. The consumer returned the rented car in the same state as he had received it: there were not any dents or scratches. Nevertheless, the company debited a considerable amount from the consumer's credit card. The explanation to his question was that a burnt mark had been noticed on the car seat, caused by a burning cigarette or cigar. The consumer, being a non-smoker, did not manage to persuade the company of his innocence and asked for help at the Spanish ECC that transferred the case to the ECC Bolzano/Bozen. The ECC Bolzano/Bozen emphasized in his complaint the fact that the consumers are non-smokers and therefore the damage cannot be caused by the couple at all. In order to gather more evidence, the car rental company even received a corresponding medical certificate. The case had been investigated again and in the end the debited amount was refunded to the consumer.