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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 2 (h)
Article 5 2. (a)
National ID PS7575
Country Italy Decision date 23/10/2012
Common name BANCA MEDIOLANUM-OSTACOLI CHIUSURA C/C Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s) Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Banca Mediolanum S.p.a.
Subject professional diligence
Keywords cancellation of contractcontract lawfinancial servicesunfair competition

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Headnote

Delaying the procedure to terminate an agreement with the consumer, without giving any valid reason to the consumer for such delay, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.

Facts

Further to some complaints, on 9 May 2012 the Italian Competition Authority decided to launch an investigation against the defendant, a retail bank, in order to ascertain whether the trader did not promptly take action to close the bank accounts as requested by the consumers.

Further, the complaints also encompassed the activity of the defendant whereby the latter did not inform the consumers about the reasons that impeded the closure of their bank account. Moreover, it was alleged that the defendant charged the maintenance costs of the bank account even after the bank account which the costumer had requested to close was deactivated.
 

Legal issue

Does delaying the procedure to terminate an agreement with the consumer, without giving any valid reason to the consumer for such delay, constitute an unfair commercial practice?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority (the plaintiff) found that between September 2007 and April 2012, the defendant had delayed the procedure for closing the bank accounts. The plaintiff also found that the trader did not inform the consumers about the obstacle concerning their request for closing their bank accounts.

The investigation by the plaintiff also ascertained that during the procedure for closing the accounts, consumers were charged for costs associated with the management of their accounts that they could not use anymore.

The plaintiff therefore held that the conduct of the defendant constituted an unfair commercial practice and was contrary to the requirements of professional diligence.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/EABF9B67A20062A2C1257AB5004FCA82.html

Result

On the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice, the Italian Competition Authority decided to fine the defendant and order it to cease the unfair behavior. The fine was increased because of recidivism of the defendant. The final fine amounted to € 300,000.00.

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