Case detailB a c k
Article 5 2. (a)
Article 5 2. (b)
Article 7 1.
|Common name||"TIM PREMIA 10 AD OGNI RICARICA"||Decision type||Administrative decision, first degree|
|Court||Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome)||Plaintiff(s)|
|Court translation||Italian Competition Authority||Defendant(s)||Telecom Italia Mobile S.p.A.|
|Subject||mobile phone services|
|Keywords||terms & conditions, misleading advertising, misleading omissions|
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An advertisement omitting to provide information on the fact that the acceptance of the offer entails a change of rate, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.
Further to a complaint reported by a consumers' association, the Italian Competition Authority decided to start its investigation proceedings against the telecom operator Telecom Italia S.p.A. The investigation concerned the possible unfairness of the commercial practice allegedly consisting in the transmission of an advertising by the main national television with regard to the offer "Tim Premia" put out between April and May 2009.
According to the consumers' association the advertising was unfair because it omitted the fact that accepting the offer entailed a charge for a change of rate of the client. Therefore, the above mentioned rate change caused a tariff increase.
According to the defendant, omitting the information about the charge for a change of rate was appropriate and did not mislead a transactional decision as the offer was provided as a compensation of that cost. Regarding the omission concerning the tariff increase, the trader denied the omission of the relevant information. In particular, according to Telecom, the advertising clearly evoked the novelty of the offer, calling the attention of consumers on the diversity of the rate profile.
Since the practice was carried out also by using television, on 11 October 2010 the opinion of the Italian Communication Authority was required.
Does an advertisement omitting to provide information on the fact that the acceptance of the offer entails a change of rate, constitute an unfair commercial practice?
The commercial practice was considered unfair because the concerned advertising omitted that the acceptance of the offer entailed a change of rate and a tariff increase.
This omission was found to be misleading on material information that the average consumer needs to have in order to be able to take an informed transactional decision and not to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
Moreover, contrary to the claims of the defendant, the effect of the above mentioned misleading omission cannot be altered by evocating the novelty of the tariff. Both for the sake of brevity and for the type of medium used, the reference is in fact quite inappropriate to point out to recipients that the offer implied a new structured tariff plan. In this regard, the Authority noted that the overall setting of the message tends to accredit "Tim Premia" as an option and not as a new tariff rate that would replace the previous one.
|URL Decision||Decision full text|
The Italian Competition Authority on the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice decided to fine (EUR 95.000) Telecom Italia S.p.A. and imposed a duty to cease the unfair behaviour.
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