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Case detail



Directive article Article 5 4.
Article 7 1.
Article 7 4. (c)
Article 9 al1 (b)
National ID PS3083
Country Italy Decision date 26/08/2009
Common name TEOREMA TOUR-ADEGUAMENTO COSTO CARBURANTE AEREO Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s) Italian Competition Authority
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Teorema S.p.A.
Subject misleading omissions
Keywords aggressive commercial practicesmisleading commercial practicesmisleading omissionsprice informationprofessional diligencetravel

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Headnote

 

It constitutes a misleading omission to charge tourists for supplementary fuel costs without indicating how this charge was calculated and without providing the consumers with proper documentation in respect thereof.

Facts

Further to several complaints, the Italian Competition Authority started investigation proceedings on 29 January 2009 against tour operator Teorema S.p.A..

The commercial practices investigated by the Authority consisted of requiring consumers, through the travel agency, the additional payment of a supplementary fuel surcharge, without indicating how this charge was calculated and without providing the consumers with proper documentation in respect thereof.

Since the practice had also been carried out online, the opinion of the Italian Communication Authority was additionally requested on 14 July 2009.

Legal issue

Is it an unfair commercial practice to charge supplementary fuel costs to tourists, which cannot be verified and which are often incorrect?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority decided that such commercial practice indeed constitutes a misleading omission, since the consumers were not properly informed about the amendment of an essential element of the contract.

According to the Authority, this practice also constitutes an aggressive commercial practice, as the use of threatening or abusive behaviour by the trader significantly impairs (or is likely to significantly impair) the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct with regard to the product, and thereby causes him (or is likely to cause him) to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise according.

Finally, the practice was also deemed contrary to the professional diligence, since it does not comply with the normal degree of competence and attention.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/agcm_ita/DSAP/Dsap_pi.nsf/a0d111d6626f957fc125652a00315873/1eeceaf689500516c12576390052a24e?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,PS3083

Result

The Italian Competition Authority decided to fine Teorema S.p.A. for an amount equal to 500.000 EUR. (Note: as Teorema had started a bankruptcy proceeding, the final fine was equal to 5.000 EUR.)

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