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Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1. (b)
Article 6 1. (f)
Article 6 1. (g)
Article 9 al1 (a)
Article 9 al1 (d)
National ID PS2545
Country Italy Decision date 16/11/2011
Common name "ACEA ELECTRABEL-ATTIVAZIONE NON RICHIESTA" Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Acea Energia S.p.A.
Subject aggressive commercial practices
Keywords right of withdrawalunordered product

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Headnote

(1) The failure to provide clear and complete pre-contractual information constitutes a misleading practice.
(2) The activation of service contracts without consumers' consent and the delaying and impeding of the exercise of a legal right of withdrawal constitutes an aggressive commercial practices.
 

Facts

Further to several complaints lodged by consumers, the Italian Competition Authority decided to launch an investigation on 19 July 2011 against the defendant, an energy and gas company. The investigation was aimed at  the unfair character  of the commercial practices allegedly consisting of the activation of electricity and gas supply without consumers having required for such supply.
More in particular, according to consumers complaints, the defendant (i) activated contracts for gas and energy supply without consumers' consent or even by means of false signature, (ii) commissioned commercial agents to visit consumers' homes with the purpose of promoting supply contracts by giving false information, and (iii) sent bills and requests of payment notwithstanding the correct exercise of the termination right.
 

Legal issue

(1) Does the failure to provide clear and complete pre-contractual information constitute a misleading practice?
(2) Does the activation of service contracts without consumers' consent and the delaying and impeding of the exercise of a legal right of withdrawal, constitute aggressive commercial practices?
 

Decision

It was held by the Authority that the defendant had committed unfair commercial practices, either:
(1) by misleading consumers so as to influence their transactional behavior, e.g. by the lack of accurate and correct information on contract terms and conditions, the binding nature of the contract and the right of withdrawal; and
(2) by indulging in aggressive practices against consumers by activating the supply contracts in absence of express consent of consumers with such contract and by delaying and impeding consumers to exercise their legal termination rights.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/DCA943FDE9BB7A76C1257966005029D0.html

Result

The Italian Competition Authority on the basis of the gravity and duration of the practices decided to impose two fines totally amounting to € 500.000 on Acea Energia S.p.A.

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