A PYMNTS Company

Italy: Antitrust Authority punishes Italian online trader

 |  October 25, 2015

The Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM) punished Techmania S.r.l., a tech e-commerce company – already penalised by the Authority in the past – having found it in breach of Articles 20, 24, 25(d) and 61 of the Italian Consumer Code, which deal with the prohibition of unfair and aggressive commercial practices against consumers (including the imposition of barriers by the trader to the exercise of consumers’ contractual rights) and grant consumers the right to terminate the contract and receive reimbursement if goods that they purchase via distance selling are not delivered within 30 days.

The proceeding started pursuant to dozens of customer complaints received by the Authority between June and September 2015, reporting the Company’s failure to meet reimbursement requests following the failed delivery of products that had been purchased online and paid for upfront.

Techmania defended itself by arguing that the number of complaints showed a decrease over time, that most of such complaints had been solved in the meantime and, in any event, that they only represented a marginal share of the company’s global business volume. It also said that it had set up an expensive customer care service which, while it was able to promptly notify customers in case of delays in deliveries, could not directly process any reimbursements, should they be required.

The Authority found these defences irrelevant and noted the unfairness of the company’s commercial practices. It pointed out that the company regularly engaged in selling goods that were neither in stock at the time of sale, nor ordered and shipped to consumers in a reasonable timeframe, finding that the number of occurrences showed this to be the consequence of “a huge organisational and managerial deficit“, and not just a temporary supply difficulty.

Full content: Lexology

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