Article 6 1. (d)
Article 6 1. (g)
|Common name||"MSC CROCIERE-CROCIERE SUL MEDITERRANEO"||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)||MSC Crociere S.p.a.|
|Keywords||consumer rights, material information, misleading omissions, omission, price, travel|
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(1) The lack of complete transparency on the elements that compose the final price to be paid by consumers, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.
(2) The failure to provide clear and complete information about the consumer's rights such as the right of withdrawal and the right to be refunded constitutes an unfair commercial practice.
Based on several reports, including one of the Tax Police, on 2 October 2012, the Italian Competition (the plaintiff) launched an investigation against the defendant, an organizer of cruise ship holidays.
In particular, the plaintiff investigated the price indications of cruise ship holidays provided on the website of the defendant, with reference to the lack of clear and complete information on the existence of additional charges, as well as their amount.
The evidence collected in the course of the investigation revealed that consumers were made aware of some additional charges only after the completion of the online reservation. Other costs were even only communicated at the end of the cruise itself. More specifically, the advertised base price was to be increased with (i) a registration fee, (ii) the price of the mandatory insurance and (iii) the service fee that was quantified and charged only at the moment of check-out.
Furthermore, the terms and conditions published on the website of the defendant did not provide clear information about the rights of withdrawal and reimbursement of the consumer in case of an increase of the price of the service. Some other essential information such as the name of the airline whose flights were included in the holiday package was neither provided to the consumers.
(1) Does the lack of complete transparency on the elements that compose the final price to be paid by consumers, constitute an unfair commercial practice?
(2) Does the failure to provide clear and complete information about the consumer's rights such as the right of withdrawal and the right to be refunded constitute an unfair commercial practice?
The plaintiff first held that the changes made by the defendant on its website, in order to already address the consumers' concerns, did not address all of these concerns.
The plaintiff ruled that the failure to provide, from the outset, consumers with information on the final price to be paid for the cruise holiday, breached the prohibition on unfair commercial practices.
In particular, the plaintiff considered that the lack of information on the obligation to pay additional charges, whose amount was foreseeable from the outset, induced a false representation of the actual price of the service offered to the average consumer.
It also held that the incompleteness of the information about the consumers' rights and some services breached the prohibition on unfair commercial practices.
According to the plaintiff, the conduct of the defendant constituted an unfair commercial practice.
|URL Decision||Decision full text|
On the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice, the plaintiff imposed on the defendant a fine of € 150.000,00 and ordered it to cease the unfair commercial practice.
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