TIM it was sanctioned again by AGCOM after some customers complained that they had activated fixed network contracts with costs or conditions different from those shown by the operator during the subscription phase.
The fine imposed on TIM was disclosed with the publication of the Resolution 159/20 / CONS which took place today, 22 May 2020, on the website of the Authority for Communications Guarantees, with the document dated 16 April 2020.
As the Authority explains, everything starts from several reports reached AGCOM in the period included between May and July 2019, by TIM customers who complained about the lack of transparency of the information provided by the sales employee during the procedure for activating the service via the web in relation to the cost of the proposed subscription.
In practice, TIM would have activated contracts on conditions other than those communicated during the contractual negotiations, Moreover “Fraudulently presenting some services or products as free (in particular the payment for the purchase of the modem and the cost for activating the offer)”.
In the preliminary investigation phase it was recognized that TIM “Has not taken all necessary measures to ensure that users have timely information regarding the monthly subscription costs of the offer and the cost of the connected modem before the conclusion of the contract or during the modification of an existing contractual relationship the activation of the service, the reimbursement or not of the activation costs and, in any case, of all that information (identified in the act of initiating the sanctioning procedure) to be communicated to the user in a complete and truthful manner in order to guarantee correct training of the user’s consent “.
For this reason and on the basis of the disputes received, it had been started a sanctioning procedure against TIM.
The accusation, therefore, is that TIM would have acted in violation of the general principles of correctness and good faith, not having transparently provided, during the conclusion of the contracts, all the information referred to in Article 70 of the Communications Code.
In his defense TIM underlines how the disputed facts refer “To a small number of cases“ and attributable however to gods “Mere errors that occurred during the process aimed at obtaining consent”.
According to TIM, these errors would have prevented users from “Fully understand the real economic conditions that would have actually applied with reference to the offer or promotion activated”.
Furthermore, in some cases it has also been found that, due to a “Problem of misalignment or configuration of information systems”, it was not possible to find the documentation certifying the achievement of the customer consent (“Verbal Order”, “Welcome Letter”) or contracts, signed and sent to customers.
Subsequently, TIM exposed the cases individually, with the various problems encountered (admitting that they had incurred “Material errors in the management of some users”), that in most cases, however, they resolved with the application of the required conditions and the discounts due.
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AGCOM then expressed its assessments on the case in question, recalling that the provisions on the right to obtain “Clear, complete and transparent information” of Article 70 of the Electronic Communications Code must also be applied when the contract is acquired remotely (verbal order or via the web).
The fact that TIM justified its conduct by attributing it generically to “Unforeseeable circumstances or force majeure events (system misalignment and / or failure to configure the procedure entered in the system) or the user’s failure to understand the actual economic conditions of the offer that he / she activated” the Authority believes that cannot be suitable for eliminating the illegality of the facts.
AGCOM then pointed out how “Too many times, with reference to the disputed cases, TIM has entrenched itself behind unspecified misalignments and system errors”.
On TIM’s finding that there were few cases, AGCOM recalls that TIM had already been sanctioned in 2018 for similar conduct. Furthermore, during the execution of the sanctioning measure, they were received further reports of users who reported similar conduct to those contested.
After having refuted TIM’s arguments on individual cases, AGCOM therefore believes that, in the cases examined, the operator has adopted a conducted in violation of the provisions of article 70 of the Code in conjunction with article 3 of annex A to resolution no. 519/15 / CONS, not having transparently provided, during the conclusion of the contracts, all the information required, with consequent invoicing of costs different from those expected. The seriousness of the violation was deemed to be medium size and medium duration.
The Authority thus verified the existence of the conditions for the application of the administrative sanction from a minimum of 58,000 euros up to a maximum of 1,160,000 euros.
However, after the submission of user complaints and the disruptions suffered by them, TIM has made every effort to prepare, in the context of a caring activity and / or conciliation procedures, the reimbursement of the unexecuted discount or, in any case, or the reversal of the debt items invoiced for the costs of goods and services not adequately represented to users during the pre-contractual phase.
All this being said, the Authority therefore deemed it necessary to order a TIM the payment of one financial penalty to the extent of three times the minimum edict, in this case of 174,000 euros.
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