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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 5 1.
Article 6 1.
Article 7 1.
National ID PS8055
Country Italy Decision date 10/07/2013
Common name "OKWIT-TEKKA/SERVIZI PREMIUM NON RICHIESTI" 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) Tekka Lab S.r.l. and Pure Bros Mobile S.r.l.
Subject internet
Keywords aggressive commercial practicesmisleading omissionsprecontractual informationtelephonevulnerable consumermobile phone services

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Headnote

Internet advertisements that do not properly inform the consumers about the purchase procedure and the cost of the service constitute an unfair commercial practice.

Facts

The Italian Competition Authority (the plaintiff),following several complaints, opened infringement proceedings against the defendants. The investigation concerned the defendants' advertising methods.

The defendants, which offer gaming services online, were alleged to contact the consumers through banners and promotional links on their smart phones. By simply clicking on the banners or the links of the defendants, the consumers purchased the gaming services, which were an open ended service for money that was automatically charged on the phone bills of the consumers. Many consumers complained that they were deceived in the purchase of the services: they only realized to have purchased the services when they saw that a weekly fee was charged on their phone bill.

The defendants challenged the competence of the plaintiff.
 

Legal issue

Do Internet advertisements that do not properly inform the consumers about the purchase procedure and the cost of the service constitute an unfair commercial practice?

Decision

The plaintiff first affirmed its legal competence in this matter.

Next, the second defendant was found innocent because it only provided the other defendant with the technological platform necessary to send the messages to mobile phones.

The first defendant however was found to have breached the prohibition on unfair commercial practices because it carried out an aggressive and misleading commercial practices. The plaintiff held that the graphic of the banners and the links were aimed to deceive the consumers. Consumers were induced to click on the banners without being properly informed that this triggered the activation of the service for money. The breach was considered very serious because it could damage vulnerable consumers.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/A9EEB943806C19B9C1257BBA002F2F28.html

Result

On the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice, the plaintiff imposed on second defendant a fine of € 160.000,00  and ordered it to cease the unfair commercial practice.

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