Travel, the Antitrust Authority rejects vouchers instead of refunds: “They cannot be imposed”


The Antitrust gives a blow to the vouchers as the only reimbursement tool for all flights canceled due to the Coronavirus. The Authority has in fact published a report, against Parliament and the government in which it rejects article 88 bis of law 27 of 2020, that is the one that converted Cura Italia into law. A rule that, at this point, has the days counted.In the notorious 88 bis, which has already been targeted by all consumer associations, the state gives transport companies the option of not refunding customers whose travel has been canceled. Companies can issue a voucher of the same amount as the ticket, to be used within a year, and which the customer cannot object to.
The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčimposing coupons instead of giving back money to customers is not only Italian. And it is the result of the unprecedented crisis facing transport companies, in particular airlines.But the Antitrust argument is simple: Italian law is in contrast with European legislation, which provides – in these cases – the possibility of choosing between refund and voucher. And in reinforcement of his thesis, he recalls how the European Commission, a few days ago, sent to some Member States (including Italy) the recommendation not to impose vouchers, but to respect the possibility of choice.

The Authority reiterates what the European executive said: to entice customers to accept vouchers, the “gun to the temple” is not a good idea, it is necessary to make them more attractive. Insuring them from the risk of bankruptcy of tour operators or carriers; making them transferable to relatives and friends and, above all, guaranteeing a refund in case they are not used.

But beyond the advice and recommendations, the slap of Antitrust to Italian law is in these words: “In the face of the persistence of the described conflict between national and European legislation”, the authority “will intervene to ensure the correct application of the provisions of Community source, disapplying the national laws which conflict with them “. Translated: those who continue to impose vouchers will find the barricades in front of them.

“A central decision that contributes to giving strength to what has already been our position for some time. It is unthinkable to make thousands of consumers lose money for a health emergency they are absolutely not to blame for” are the words of Fabrizio Premuti, president of Konsumer Italy.

“Now Minister Franceschini has to resign, assuming his responsibilities, being the creator of the voucher operation” thunders Massimiliano Dona, president of the National Consumer Union (UNC). “By asking consumers to play the public role of subsidizing and financing travel and holiday businesses, it has damaged the tourism sector itself, given that no one books holidays today, having neither the certainty of being able to reach the holiday resort, nor, in in case of cancellation of the tourist package, to be able to get back the money spent, but only a voucher “continues Dona.

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