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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 5 2. (a)
Article 5 2. (b)
Article 6 1.
National ID PS6853
Country Italy Decision date 19/07/2011
Common name "AUTOSTRADE PER L''ITALIA-INFORMAZIONI SULLA VIABILITÀ IN CONDIZIONI CRITICHE" Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A.
Subject information obligation
Keywords inaccurate informationinformation obligationinformed choiceinformed decisionmaterial informationprofessional diligence

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Headnote

The omission of a trader, competent to manage a national transport infrastructure, to provide sufficient information to the users of such infrastructure during emergency situations caused by extreme weather conditions, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.

Facts

Following several consumer claims, the Italian Competition Authority decided on 23 December 2010 to launch an investigation against the defendant, a company managing the Italian motorways network.
According to the complaints, the defendant did not give information correctly and promptly to consumers who, after intense snowfalls, were blocked on the motorway for more than a day (some for up to 30 hours between 17 and 18 December 2010) in the area of Florence (Milano/Napoli).
As appeared through the course of the investigations, consumers were left in extreme climate conditions and complete isolation. Moreover, they were unable to get in contact by telephone with the defendant to get information on the traffic conditions or ask for help.
Due to the lack of information, motorway users were not given useful guidance on possible solutions, such as leaving the motorway, interrupting the journey or using alternative routes. The variable message panels, i.e. panels on the motorway electronically indicating traffic information, passed inconsistent messages on the real extent and causes of the block (snow and traffic jams). In addition, the radio station broadcasting traffic information, Isoradio, was also not providing adequate information.
 

Legal issue

Does the omission of a trader, competent to manage a national transport infrastructure, to provide sufficient information to the users of such infrastructure during emergency situations caused by extreme weather conditions, constitute an unfair commercial practice?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority stated that the behavior of defendant constitutes an unfair commercial  practice since, in lack of sufficient information on traffic information which is the defendant's task, consumers could not take informed decisions. In particular, being completely unaware of the extent of the on-going block, motorway users were induced to continue their journey or even subsequently join the motorway.
In addition, the Italian Competition Authority considered that the measures adopted by the defendant in order to solve the problems caused by the block (such as the removal of obstacles on the motorways) were insufficient and not implemented in a timely manner.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/C3963996D16423BAC12578E70050A4C6.html

Result

The Italian Competition Authority decided to fine the defendant with 350.000 Euro.

Additional information

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