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Italian Antitrust Authority, Vueling S.A. case: three unfair trade practices misleading costumers

Vueling S.A. – the Spanish low-cost carrier – has been fined €1 million by the Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato) for three unfair trade practices representing a violation of the Italian Consumer Code.

In the first practice, Vueling has been considered as misleading customers over the cost of its online check-in, which it widely advertised as being free but which, in certain instances, has a fee of €15. The airline also failed to properly advertise that check-in procedure at the airport was always free of charge.

In the second practice, Vueling promoted the sale of a 25% discount voucher which was so ambiguous that it left customers unsure of how it could be applied.

In addiction to the above said, Vueling’s online contact system was so rigid that customers were unable to exercise their rights to customer service and complaint, forcing them to phone the airline at a fee of up to €15: this third practice has been considered unfair as well.

Finally, AGCM decided to dismissed any action against the airlines for two other potential unfair trade practices regarding no-show rule (i.e. the consequential use of coupon rule) and credit card surcharges: the action has been dismissed following the relevant amendments made by the airline to its general terms and condictions.

The above said has been decided by AGCM in case PS9856.

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