Antitrust Authority: fewer restrictions for franchisees of one of the world’s largest fast food restaurant chains 

The Italian Antitrust Authority (in Italian, “Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato”, “AGCM”) ended an investigation for alleged abuse of economic dependence, against a US company operating one of the world’s largest fast food restaurant chains, accepting the proposed commitments. 

The proceeding concerned certain conducts implemented by the company towards its franchisees, consisting in the imposition of a set of conditions and obligations, unduly affecting their entrepreneurial activity and unjustifiably reducing their profit margins. 

The Authority found the proposed commitments – particularly the clarifications that the company undertook to include in the franchise agreements – eliminate any competition concerns. 

Source: Italian Antitrust Authority’s official website 

Six telecom operators modify the advertising of their fibre internet connection offers 

The AGCM received positive feedback from six main telephone providers operating in Italy, in relation to moral suasion interventions carried out regarding the advertising modalities of their offers for navigating the Internet through the fibre connection system. 

The Authority found that the information provided on the maximum Internet speeds offered was untrue, as there was no clear indication of the conditions required to achieve them, such as possessing the latest generation of devices. 

As a result of the moral suasion interventions, all the providers modified the graphics and updated the content of the information on the achievable Internet speed, helping consumers better understand the real details of the offers. 

Source: Italian Antitrust Authority’s official website 

AGCM and ARERA communication campaign for defending from aggressive call centres starts 

On 24 June, the first communication campaign, entitled, in Italian, “DIFENDITI COSÌ” (i.e., “DEFEND YOURSELF THIS WAY”), organised by AGCM and ARERA – the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment – was launched to provide consumers with information and advice on how to defend themselves against the pushiness and unfairness of some call centres. 

This campaign follows an increase in complaints about excessive pressure from teleselling call centres and will be broadcast through TV and radio spots, as well as through the main web and social media channels. 

On the new website users can find information on the most frequent complaints collected by the two Authorities and on consumers’ rights to help them know the tools at their disposal to choose, freely and safely, the products or services to purchase. 

Source: Italian Antitrust Authority’s official website 

AGCOM adopts an intervention plan against “cash for sms” applications 

On 1 July, through a press release, the Italian Communications Guarantee Authority (in Italian, “Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni”, “AGCOM”) announced that it adopted an intervention plan against “cash for sms” applications, i.e. apps that allow private holders of mobile telephony contracts to sell, for a fee, their unconsumed SMS. These SMS are then used by the companies operating the applications to provide corporate messaging services, in violation of applicable legislation. 

The adopted plan provides for the blocking of the applications identified by the surveillance activities, and commits the operators to monitor, and report to the AGCOM, the effects of the adopted measures, and to inform users of the illegal nature of these practices and the risks involved in adhering to such initiatives. 

Source: Italian Communications Guarantee Authority’s official website 

AGCOM fines an event ticket sales platform for over 23 million euros 

With resolution no. 224/22/CONS published on June 23, 2022, the AGCOM fined a company operating a platform for the secondary resale of event tickets, without owning issuing systems, for infringing secondary ticketing regulations. 

The investigations carried out revealed the infringement of the aforementioned regulations through the sale, or in any case the placement, on the company’s website of access tickets to 131 events at prices up to six/seven times higher than the original sale prices. 

With the same resolution, the Authority also ordered the company to remove the unlawful content still on the website within 7 days. 

Source: Italian Communications Guarantee Authority’s official website 

AGCM fines the Italian subsidiary of a Chinese multinational company, the fourth largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, for over 3 million euros 

The AGCM fined an Italian company, part of a Chinese multinational company operating in consumer electronics, a penalty of over 3 million euros for preventing consumers from exercising their rights under the legal warranty on the company’s products. 

In particular, the proceedings revealed that the company refused to provide warranty repairs in the presence of other product defects not covered by the warranty, conditioning warranty service on the prior repair of the latter. Moreover, in the event of a negative outcome of the verification of a lack of conformity of the product, the consumer who did not accept the out-of-warranty repair estimate was required to pay the costs of verifying the defect and shipping the product, failing which the unrepaired product would not be returned. 

The Authority clarified, on the contrary, that it was up to the company to verify the alleged conformity defect of the product without charging any cost to the consumer. 

Source: Italian Antitrust Authority’s official website 

The Italian Supreme Court rules on the legitimate use of the image of a notorious person portrayed in the context of an activity related to his/her notoriety 

With the judgement no. 19515/2022, the Italian Supreme Court clarified that, in order to legitimately disclose a photographic portrait of a person without his or her consent pursuant to Article 97 of the Italian Copyright Law (Law no. 1941/633), it must be assessed whether the reproduction of the image is justified, inter alia, by the person’s notoriety or public office. This condition is met not only when the subject is photographed in the context of the activity from which his or her notoriety arose, but also when the photograph portrays him or her in the performance of an activity ancillary to that activity or in any event related to it. 

Source: De Jure  

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