Online Dispute Resolution: a new tool in favor of european consumers

Online Dispute ResolutionFrom January 9, 2016 has been operating the new platform for alternative dispute resolution desired by the European Commission and designed to represent for consumers and traders a single point of access to the alternative dispute resolution online, by recognized organ

From January 9, 2016 has been operating the new platform for alternative dispute resolution desired by the European Commission and designed to represent for consumers and traders a single point of access to the alternative dispute resolution online, by recognized organizations such as ADRs by the competent national authorities and, as such, be notified to the EU Commission Reg. No EU. 524/2013 – Reg. On consumer ODR). In this platform, however, consumers and professionals can access it only from 15 February 2016 from address http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/.
The ODR platform, specifically, is nothing more than an interactive website that offers consumers and professionals a quick and free electronic access in all official languages ​​of the EU institutions, through which you can submit to the competent ADR the CD. “Complaint telematics”: an “electronic complaint form”, which must then be submitted to the ODR platform.
The Regulation no. 2013/524 / EU, and also to the EU Regulation. 2015/1051/EU, one dealing with the “online dispute resolution for consumers” and “procedures for the exercise of the functions of the platform of online dispute resolution and the characteristics of the electronic module”, alongside the Directive 2013/11/EU of 21 May 2013 on the alternative resolution of consumer disputes (cd. Directive on ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution – for consumers).
This Directive ADR, in view of a greater development in the EU of alternative dispute resolution procedures, establishes the minimum harmonization in the field of ADR entities and of ADR procedures in order to ensure that consumers have access to transparent mechanisms, effective , equitable and high-quality.
The ADR Directive was implemented by Legislative Decree. N. 130 of 6 August 2015, already entered into force on 3 September, which modified the Consumer Code, introducing a new Title II-bis, entitled “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, in which it was replaced Article . 141 and we have been introduced to Articles 141-bis to 141decies.
The ADR procedure has the following characteristics (cfr. Art. 141-c cod. Rec.):
(I) voluntariness: the procedure may be brought online and offline to both parties;
(Ii) may not require assistance of a lawyer;
(Iii) gratuity or payment of a minimal fee to cover expenses incurred by the institution;
(Iv) speed: the procedure for resolving the dispute lasts more than 90 days from receipt by the ADR entity, the full file of all documentation requested by the contracting entity and, in the case of no requirement for legal assistance is You can extend the period up to a maximum of ninety days.
(V) alternative nature: process analysis stands as a simple alternative to the procedures provided for by other provisions of law providing for mandatory mechanisms of dispute resolution, such as, but not limited to, the Legislative Decree. N. 28/2010 on mediation to resolve civil and commercial disputes; Law no. 249/1997, which regulates a mandatory settlement for the electronic communications sector; Law no. 481/1995 where there is a mechanism of conciliation in matters covered by the Authority for Electricity, gas and water system.
Under the new legislation, the ADR entity may operate in two different modes: organizing a meeting between the parties in order to facilitate an amicable settlement of the dispute or promoting a solution to the conflict existing between the consumer and the professional.

The legislature does not impose additional conditions to the proceedings, which will be governed by the rules contained in the Regulation by the ADR entity selected by the consumer.

It remains still the consumer’s right of appeal to the ordinary courts competent whatever the outcome of the procedure of court settlement of the dispute (see. Art. 141, paragraph 10 of the Consumer Code).

For the information and assistance to be given to consumers (cfr. Art. 141-e), the professional who makes a commitment to use one or more ADR is required to provide information to consumers about the ADR chosen. Are rooted in the provisions designed to encourage the widest possible dissemination of information on ADRs registered on the list maintained by the European Commission, through the competition of the same virtuous ADR entities, European networks, the competent authorities and consumer groups.

An important role was then given to the National Centre of the European network for consumers (ECC-Net) to assist consumers in accessing the ADR entity operating in another Member State and who is competent to deal with their cross-border dispute.

The new institute ADR shines particularly for originality. In fact there are strong similarities with the institute of mediation, from which it differs: a) by not requiring the assistance of a lawyer as is foreseen in the Decree. N. 28/2010; b) the use of mediation before a competent ADR entity is not a condition of admissibility of a subsequent and possible legal proceedings; c) the agreement between the parties the outcome of the ADR procedure not be enforceable by the enforcement of a law certain, fixed and due.

Therefore, as the more sustained, the intent of this new discipline seems to be only to “groped degiurisdizionalizzare of disputes between consumers and traders that now fill the classrooms of our courts and/or the courts of peace.”

izations such as ADRs by the competent national authorities and, as such, be notified to the EU Commission Reg. No EU. 524/2013 – Reg. On consumer ODR). In this platform, however, consumers and professionals can access it only from 15 February 2016 from address http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/.
The ODR platform, specifically, is nothing more than an interactive website that offers consumers and professionals a quick and free electronic access in all official languages ​​of the EU institutions, through which you can submit to the competent ADR the CD. “Complaint telematics”: an “electronic complaint form”, which must then be submitted to the ODR platform.
The Regulation no. 2013/524 / EU, and also to the EU Regulation. 2015/1051 / EU, one dealing with the “online dispute resolution for consumers” and “procedures for the exercise of the functions of the platform of online dispute resolution and the characteristics of the electronic module”, alongside the Directive 2013/11 / EU of 21 May 2013 on the alternative resolution of consumer disputes (cd. Directive on ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution – for consumers).
This Directive ADR, in view of a greater development in the EU of alternative dispute resolution procedures, establishes the minimum harmonization in the field of ADR entities and of ADR procedures in order to ensure that consumers have access to transparent mechanisms, effective , equitable and high-quality.
The ADR Directive was implemented by Legislative Decree. N. 130 of 6 August 2015, already entered into force on 3 September, which modified the Consumer Code, introducing a new Title II-bis, entitled “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, in which it was replaced Article . 141 and we have been introduced to Articles 141-bis to 141decies.
The ADR procedure has the following characteristics (cfr. Art. 141-c cod. Rec.):
(I) voluntariness: the procedure may be brought online and offline to both parties;
(Ii) may not require assistance of a lawyer;
(Iii) gratuity or payment of a minimal fee to cover expenses incurred by the institution;
(Iv) speed: the procedure for resolving the dispute lasts more than 90 days from receipt by the ADR entity, the full file of all documentation requested by the contracting entity and, in the case of no requirement for legal assistance is You can extend the period up to a maximum of ninety days.
(V) alternative nature: process analysis stands as a simple alternative to the procedures provided for by other provisions of law providing for mandatory mechanisms of dispute resolution, such as, but not limited to, the Legislative Decree. N. 28/2010 on mediation to resolve civil and commercial disputes; Law no. 249/1997, which regulates a mandatory settlement for the electronic communications sector; Law no. 481/1995 where there is a mechanism of conciliation in matters covered by the Authority for Electricity, gas and water system.
Under the new legislation, the ADR entity may operate in two different modes: organizing a meeting between the parties in order to facilitate an amicable settlement of the dispute or promoting a solution to the conflict existing between the consumer and the professional.

The legislature does not impose additional conditions to the proceedings, which will be governed by the rules contained in the Regulation by the ADR entity selected by the consumer.

It remains still the consumer’s right of appeal to the ordinary courts competent whatever the outcome of the procedure of court settlement of the dispute (see. Art. 141, paragraph 10 of the Consumer Code).

For the information and assistance to be given to consumers (cfr. Art. 141-e), the professional who makes a commitment to use one or more ADR is required to provide information to consumers about the ADR chosen. Are rooted in the provisions designed to encourage the widest possible dissemination of information on ADRs registered on the list maintained by the European Commission, through the competition of the same virtuous ADR entities, European networks, the competent authorities and consumer groups.

An important role was then given to the National Centre of the European network for consumers (ECC-Net) to assist consumers in accessing the ADR entity operating in another Member State and who is competent to deal with their cross-border dispute.

The new institute ADR shines particularly for originality. In fact there are strong similarities with the institute of mediation, from which it differs: a) by not requiring the assistance of a lawyer as is foreseen in the Decree. N. 28/2010; b) the use of mediation before a competent ADR entity is not a condition of admissibility of a subsequent and possible legal proceedings; c) the agreement between the parties the outcome of the ADR procedure not be enforceable by the enforcement of a law certain, fixed and due.

Therefore, as the more sustained, the intent of this new discipline seems to be only to “groped degiurisdizionalizzare of disputes between consumers and traders that now fill the classrooms of our courts and / or the courts of peace.”

Rating of Legality: + 243% of requests submitted to AGCOM in 2015

Rating of legalityWith a press release a few days ago, the Competition Authority announced that in 2015 dramatically increased the demands for awarding the “Rating of legality” by Italian companies. From 2014 to 2015 they requests tripled, rising to 441 in 1514: exactly 243% more than last year.
Notably, in 2014 they were 183 attributes rating, over the past year instead awards the honest businesses have been well 1,083. One thing that this bodes well
The Rating of legality is the instrument, introduced in 2012 for companies with which it is entrusted with the task of AGCM attribute a score – measured in little stars – companies that have requested and that have characterized the management of its business in compliance with the law.
This tool “rewarding” is therefore aimed at the promotion and introduction of principles of ethical conduct in business. Rating allocation of sorting fact linked benefits in the granting of public funding and easier access to bank credit.
The Rating of law, governed by resolution AGCM 14 November 2012, n. 24075, effective for two years after issue and is renewable upon request.
They may require the assignment of the Rating companies operating in Italy that meet certain legal requirements, namely:
a) they have reached a minimum sales volume of two million euro in the year ended the year prior to application;
b) they are registered in the register of companies for at least two years;
c) not have been convicted, in the previous two years, for illegal anti-trust;
d) to carry out payments and financial transactions over a thousand Euros only with traceable instruments.
Interested companies must submit an application, via computer, using the application form available on the website www.agcm.it/rating-di-legalita.html and following the instructions therein.
For more information: inter-ministerial decree of 20 February 2014 n. 57 – Rating of legality

The Court of Milan orders to Fastweb to obscure Rojadirecta.

RojadirectaLa Sezione Specializzata del Tribunale di Milano, in seguito ad un esposto presentato nel 2013 da Mediaset e Lega Calcio (a cui si è unito Sky), ha disposto un ordine di sequestro del portale Rojadirecta.
L’ordine obbligava gli Internet Service Provider italiani di impedire a tutti gli utenti l’accesso al dominio it.rojadirecta.eu”, tramite inibizione dei DNS. Invero, il predetto provvedimento si rivolge esclusivamente a Fastweb, unico ISP a non aver dato seguito all’ingiunzione.
I Giudici milanesi hanno inoltre fissato una penale di 30mila euro per ogni giorno di ritardo nell’esecuzione del provvedimento. Fastweb, da parte sua, ha reso immediatamente irraggiungibile, sin da mercoledì scorso, il sito it.rojadirecta.eu.
Mediaset ha reso noto in un comunicato stampa che “la decisione del Tribunale di Milano riveste una particolare rilevanza giurisprudenziale in tema di lotta alla pirateria”. Infatti, la magistratura milanese ha “vincolato l’azienda di tlc all’immediata rimozione di tutti i siti con nome “rojadirecta”, indipendentemente dal paese in cui sono registrati”.
Per l’azienda milanese la battaglia allo streaming illegale compie un altro passo in avanti dopo aver ottenuto, già quattro anni fa, dal Tribunale di Roma, uno divieto diretto al gestore del portale spagnolo e nel corso del 2013, due ordini di sequestro dello stesso sito da parte della Procura di Milano, che in un caso aveva definito Rojadirecta, che aggrega segnali messi in rete da altri, “un vero e proprio portale per l’abusiva diffusione di eventi sportivi in violazione degli altrui diritti di privativa”. Due disposizioni aggirate grazie alla creazione di nuovi domini che hanno permesso al sito spagnolo di continuare la trasmissione in streaming violando la normativa sul copyright.
La decisione del Tribunale di Milano segue alcuni provvedimenti già emessi nelle settimane scorse dall’Agcom, sempre su segnalazione di Mediaset, che trasmettevano illegalmente partite di Serie A. L’Authority ha infatti ordinato di oscurare tre portali quali: aliez.tv. portalzuca.com e calcion.com.
Un importante passo verso la tutela del copyright dunque.

Data protection: the EU Court declared no longer valid Safe Habour

Europa

The Court of Justice of & rsquo; European Union and judgment on 6 October in Case C-362/14 (M. Schrems vs Data Protection Commissioner), determined that the agreements for the management and transfer of personal data between American and European companies may be suspended by the Member States when there is no the guarantees of an adequate level of data protection < / u>.

So ruling, the Court has in fact declared the & rsquo; invalidity of the European Commission’s decision on the cd program & ldquo; Safe Harbour & rdquo; (Safe Harbor) or the & rsquo; agreement between the European Union and the United States allowing US companies, such as Facebook or Google (but not only, since they are in fact 4,500 American companies that have used the Safe Harbor), to be able to store the personal data of European users on both servers in & rsquo; EU that of those located in the US.

The Safe Harbour had been authorized by the EU Commission with the Decision 520/2000 / EC (the so-called & ldquo; Decision of Safe Harbour & rdquo;), recognizing that the cd Principles of Safe Harbor Privacy Policy, approved by the Department of Commerce of the United States d & rsquo; America, would ensure adequate protection of personal data transferred from & rsquo; EU overseas, thus in compliance with the EU privacy directive (Directive 95/96 / EC) . In practice, the American companies to join the program should have complied the seven principles : 1) Users should be warned about the collection and the & rsquo; use of their personal data; 2) Everyone should be free to refuse the collection of data and their transfer to third parties; 3) The data can be transferred only to organizations that follow adequate data protection principles; 4) Companies need to provide safeguards against the risk that the data is lost; 5) must be collected only data relevant to the detection; 6) You have the right to access the data and if necessary to correct them or delete them if they are inaccurate; 7) These rules must be effectively implemented. Once that & rsquo; firm has joined the program, it must renew the certification every 12 months.

In a nutshell, with this ruling states that, from the date of issue, with definitive effect, the safe harbor must instead submit to the jurisdiction of each state of & rsquo; Union, which may suspend, if deemed appropriate, to the transfer of personal data to the American servers.

The decision of the European Court has been issued as a result of & rsquo; proposed action by a user Austrian Facebook, Mr M. Schrems, who, in June 2013, lodged a complaint with the & rsquo; authority of the privacy Irish, where the social has its registered office, stating that, starting from the Snowden case, the laws of the United States did not provide sufficient protection to the data transferred from & rsquo; Europe. L & rsquo; Authority of Ireland rejected the complaint and the Supreme Court of Ireland, to which Mr Schrems turned, at the time of reference, remitted to the European Court of Justice that with the recent ruling upheld instances of & rsquo; activist.
The European Court has ruled that & ldquo; the existence of a Commission decision, according to which a third country ensures an adequate level of protection of personal data, can neither exclude nor reduce the powers of the national competition authorities. Therefore, even if the Commission has adopted its own decision, the National authorities , when receiving a complaint from a citizen, must be able full independence in assessing whether the transfer of data to a third country meets the requirements of the Directive & rdquo ;.

The most important aspect of the decision, however, concerns the fact that the Court has also ruled invalid the Safe Harbour Decision, citing as the main reason, the fact that Safe Harbor program does not prevent the public authorities of the Member States to interfere with the fundamental rights of the people .
The European Court ruling has important consequences for European companies transferring personal data to the US. In fact, the national competition authorities will no longer be bound by the Safe Harbour Decision and will take appropriate action in the event of any finding that the transfer overseas do not respect the privacy policy. As a result, companies will be required to verify the contracts with their US counterparts and, where contracts relying on the Safe Harbor as a legal basis for data transfer, will have to resort to legal means available alternative to transfer personal data to the United States, as the standard clauses approved by the European Commission.

In a press release made public in recent days, the Working Group Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (independent advisory body set up pursuant to the & rsquo; Article 29 of Directive 95/46 / EC on the protection of personal data) stressed the & rsquo; & rsquo of urgency, start a negotiation that individuals shared a position of governments on international transfers.

The Working Party concludes hoping that companies are aware of the & ldquo; risks they take in data transfer & rdquo; and take timely legal solutions and techniques designed to mitigate these risks in compliance with the Community rules on the data protection .

Therefore, by the end of January 2016, you will have to reach a conclusion that meets the European authorities: if Europe and the United States fail to reach an agreement, the European guarantors undertake to initiate all necessary and appropriate measures, that provide the possibility of a coordinated action.

Privacy: Google also will comply with the Italian legislation

Google Privacy

The most popular search engine, Google, will take all measures to protect the privacy required by the Authority for the protection of personal data and will have to submit to periodic audits that provide screening the progress of work to adapt the platform to the national legislation.

The Authority approved the verification protocol (available HERE) provided in the measure adopted last July against Google following the inquiry opened in 2013, aimed at making the privacy policy of the American colossus According to national standards.

Under the protocol, the Authority will constantly monitor the changes that Google has made to the treatment of personal data of users who use the services offered by it, such as: email (Gmail), social networks (Google+), management payments online (Google Wallet), the spread of movies (YouTube) and maps online (Street View), statistical analysis (Google Analytics).

In summary, the most important measures that Google will have to implement by January 15, 2016 are as follows:

– the privacy policy will be accessible, clear and differentiated according to the services offered. Furthermore, the information must include details on the purposes and methods of treatment of user data, including the profiling done by the intersection of the data between different services, the use of cookies and other identifiers such as fingerprinting (a system that collects information on how to use the terminal by the user and stores directly from the company’s servers);

– informed consent of users who must first be required to profile those who use the services and will have to be guaranteed the right to object to the processing of personal data;

– storage and deletion of user data must be guaranteed. In particular, it must be guaranteed a certain timing for the deletion of data, both of those online as well as those stored on back-up systems;

– requests for removal of information from search results for users so they can monitor the conditions of application of the so-called right to be forgotten.

On-line purchases, published the warranty Decalogue

Decalogo acquisti online

Under Directive n. 2011/83/EU, implemented with the Italian Legislative Decree. N. 21/2014 which has made changes to the Consumer Code came into force last June, which introduces greater protection for consumers, was drafted the Decalogue Warranty for purchases made at a distance.
The main points of the text, which you can download HERE, are, in summary, the following:

  1. Stop in hidden charges and fees on the Internet;
  2. Increased price transparency;
  3. Prohibition of pre-ticked boxes on websites;
  4. Period of 14 days to change your mind on a purchase;
  5. More redemption rights;
  6. Introduction of a standard withdrawal form throughout the European Union;
  7. Elimination of surcharges for use of credit cards and telephone support;
  8. Clearer information on the costs of returning the goods;
  9. More protection for consumers in purchasing digital;
  10. More safeguards and standards for businesses.

The right of withdrawal does NOT apply to travel tickets purchased online

Recesso Biglietti Online

Online  purchase of tickets (rail or sea) is a form of distance selling and, as such, governed by Articles. 49 et seq. of the Italian Consumer Code (Legislative Decree. n. 206/2005 as well as recently amended by Legislative Decree no. no. 21/2014) that, in addition to providing the information obligations imposed on the seller, also regulate the right of withdrawal of the consumer in the case of a subsequent reconsideration within 14 days of signing the contract on the web.

However, this general rule, there are exceptions.

It must be noted that the right of withdrawal is not applicable to the hypothesis of online purchasing of travel tickets and this by virtue of the combined provisions of Articles. 59 and 47 of the Consumer Code.

First, Article 59 of the Code. Consumption, which specifically regulates the exceptions to the right of withdrawal, provides that “The right of withdrawal referred to in Articles 52 to 58 for distance contracts and contracts negotiated away from business premises is excluded “, among other assumptions, as well as for contracts which have as their object the provision of accommodation for non-residential, rental cars and catering services, also supplies of ‘services relating to leisure activities, if the contract provides for a date or period of performance “(cfr. art. 59 Cod. Cons. letter. n).

The letter. a) of Article. 59 also provides for the exclusion of the right of withdrawal for contracts having as their object services for which you have already started the execution with the express consent of the consumer.
It follows, therefore, that the right of withdrawal must be excluded whenever buying travel tickets online falls within those services which target the leisure activities – such as, for example, the holidays – and when services related to travel where the tickets were purchased already made clear initiated immediately after the sale.

The provisions of article just mentioned, are then added to those of Article 47 of the same Code. That article, which governs in general consumer rights in contracts, refers both to the discipline of “travel packages and holiday” both to the specific provisions of the Code of Tourism (Legislative Decree no. 79/2011), and excludes from the application of many provisions on distance contracts or negotiated away from business premises, all contracts relating to “passenger transport services”, including those regarding the right of withdrawal.

In light of the framework outlined above, it must be said that the purchase of travel tickets, air, rail or sea via the web is not protected by the right of withdrawal.

Only remedy attributed to the traveler who wishes to withdraw from the insurance policy is carried out aimed at the ticket reimbursement in the event of rethinking or waiver that often is offered directly on the websites of sellers along with other accessories and services can be purchased with a simple “click” on the boxes at the date of the order.

We note, finally, that the provision of the law in no way prevents the seller to recognize the consumer / traveler the opportunity to withdraw from the purchase already made, but it is merely an option contract the seller subject to specific terms and conditions (such as, for example, illness or injury). In some cases, the seller may well predict the retention of a percentage of the price already paid (so-called cancellation fee).

Lithuania enters the Euro and the ECB change the system of voting rights

Euro LituaniaFrom January 1, 2015, another Member State of the European Union (19 of 28) has joined the Eurozone. Since yesterday, therefore, Lithuania (following in the footsteps of Estonia and Latvia) is the nineteenth EU country to adopt Euro.

Already in 2006 Lithuania had asked to join the Eurozone, but had been “rejected” because it did not meet the convergence criterion on inflation, considered too high. However, through a rigorous adjustment path, the government has managed to cut public spending by 10.5% of GDP between 2009 and 2013 and shot down the deficit from 9.3% to 2.6%. “Lithuania has taken exceptional measures in difficult times to achieve the objectives required to join the euro: these results will benefit at the same time the Eurozone and Lithuania,” said the governor of the ECB, Mario Draghi, in a video message.

The entrance of Lithuania into the Eurozone, not only broadens the countries that adopt the European currency, but also changes the rules of the game for the European Central Bank. With the passing of the 18 Member States to adopt the single currency, in fact, the EU treaties provide for a change in the method of voting in the Governing Council of the ECB: the system used so far, “a member one vote” is stored and replaced by a system rotation among the representatives of the 19 central banks of the Eurozone. The rule has been provided by the board of directors already in December 2002 to maintain its ability to act with the enlargement of the Eurozone and the addition of new members in decision-making that sets monetary policy Community.

Until now it had the right to vote all members of the Governing Council of the ECB formed on the model of the Bundesbank and, therefore, consists of six permanent members – including President Draghi – gathered in the Executive Committee, as well as by representatives of 18 central banks State party Eurozone.

To ensure the ECB greater speed in its decisions, the European treaties provide that, once the threshold of 18 member countries of the eurozone, will switch to a system that abandons the “universal suffrage” between central governors.

The new voting system therefore provides that the rotation is monthly and the governors, in turn, use their right to vote. The Eurozone countries are divided into groups according to the size of their economies and their financial sectors and the governors of the countries, currently ranked first to fifth place (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands) divide four rights vote. All other (14 with Lithuania), have 11 voting rights.

EU Antitrust Authority investigation on Booking.com

Antitrust Booking.comA press release from the European Commission states that the they are coordinating investigations already undertaken in recent months by the national Antitrust of Italy, France and Sweden against Booking.com; The website dedicated to online reservations and belonging to a company registered in the Netherlands but controlled by US giant Priceline (public company listed on the Nasdaq of NY).

The investigation of the three national authorities aims to verify if the so-called “equality clause”, present in the contracts signed by Booking.com with the hotel, which would impose hoteliers not to offer, other distribution channels on line and off line, the rooms at lower rates and more favorable than those proposed on Booking.com, may have anti-competitive in violation of anti-trust European and national.

According to the Italian, French and Swedish guarantors , in fact, that equality clause may harm competition, as it violates the respective national rules and the art. 101 and / or the art. 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In particular, the three Authorities believe that this may limit competition between Booking.com and other online travel agencies and that could prevent the market entry of new booking platforms.

In order to meet the demands of the National Authority to further liberalize the tourism offer of accommodation in view of increased competition on the lever of the price and in an attempt to dispel any fear, Booking.com is committed to change “equality clauses”,” so that it is applicable only to the prices and other conditions publicly offered by the hotel through its own direct sales channels, both online and offline, and not on the prices offered on other online travel agencies (Ota). The company will also allow all partner hotels to discount rates offered on its platform to customers who belong to closed user groups. ”

The commitments made by Booking.com are available HERE. Any comments must be received in writing by January 31, 2015, and the assessment procedure will be completed within the next 1 April 2015.

If the proposed agreement was accepted by Booking.com, the agreement would apply to all 28 EU countries. However, also the guarantors of Germany, Ireland, Austria and the United Kingdom are also considering whether to open an investigation against the company.

It notes that the online booking agencies receive a commission from the hotels that ranges between 10 and 30% of the price of a room. According to the French Autorité de la Concurrence, about 70% of hotel rooms in Europe is booked through these portals and the same French authorities warned it could still impose sanctions if it were to consider the proposal of Booking.com inadequate to ensure free competition.

Unfair commercial practices: fine of half a million euro to Marcopoloshop

Unieuro Antitrust

The Competition Authority and the Market has recently occupied the area of e-commerce, a sector in strong growth in recent years and is characterized by a very heated competition, in which, the consumer purchaser of the times is in place a position of inevitable information asymmetry with respect to the professional. “

By decision of 4 December 2015 (available here), the Antitrust Authority has in fact imposed a penalty of € 500,000 paid by the SGM Distributions Srl for unfair business practices, in accordance with articles. 20, paragraph 2, 21, paragraph 1, letter b), c) and g), 23 e) and f), 24 and 25, letter d) of the Consumer Code, the same carried out in the promotion and sale products through the company website www.marcopoloshop.it now www.unieuro.it.
The penalty, borne by the largest Italian chain of consumer electronics and appliances, comes at the end of a proceeding initiated ex officio by the Authority and by the numerous reports of various consumers.In the opinion of the Italian competition and market, selling arrangements on line implemented by the company on the site www.unieuro.it do not conform to the level of professional care required by the specificity of e-commerce and the relevant provision of the law, but suitable to integrate a violation of consumer protection concerning unfair practices.

In fact, the Antitrust Authority is satisfied that on its website, the company offered to consumers immediately as available” even products that, in fact, they were not, so bringing the consumer inconvenience and inefficiency, such as: a) the cancellation of your order purchase; b) Delivery times more than projected so unduly conditioning it to purchase an alternative product instead of proceeding to an immediate refund.

In addition, the Authority has found profiles of impropriety also about providing for the administration of the subsequent phases to the purchase of the products, which were found serious deficiencies in the performance of the disclosure requirements by the company. Customer Service Marcopolo Shop, in fact, not informed promptly and properly consumers about the real state of the orders and the practical possibilities of receiving the products purchased in those terms by the company“; conduct, this does not comply with the level of professional care required in e-commerce and, at the same time, capable of hindering the exercise of contractual rights for consumers, depriving them of the opportunity to choose a fast, aware whether to wait evasion of order or contact another supplier.

But not only. The basis of the measure adopted by the Authority so strict there is also the fact, very significant, that the service of SGM Distributions Srl adopted behaviors aimed to increase the time for the return or release of the amounts paid, as the crediting of these amounts was done only after the disclosure of the unavailability of the product and thus the demand of wanting to opt for a refund instead of a purchase alternative product.

Well, in the opinion of the Authority, this practice is inconsistent with the level of professional care required in e-commerce because, as seen, the crediting of the amounts paid is a duty, which must be placed unilaterally by the professional and must be contextual to the communication of the annulment of the order, if not previous to the same. So that the specification of the will to get the refund, by the consumer, is a condition superfluous and unnecessary, cause inconvenience and unnecessary delays to the detriment of consumers. “