CONSUMERS | The AGCM fines Italian marketplace for false reviews

On 7 May 2024, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) concluded proceedings PS12685 against the Italian digital marketplace S.r.l., imposing a fine of 170,000 Euro for engaging in an unfair commercial practice. Notably, in the context of the online buying and selling service between private individuals, the trader envisaged the automatic posting of a positive rating (5 stars) to both the buyer and the seller after each transaction that occurred through the platform in the event that one of the parties failed to leave a review within 14 days of the transaction. According to the AGCM, the lack of authenticity of the reviews, which were automatically posted by the trader, and could not be referred to the individuals who were actually part of the transaction, is particularly insidious since reviews have a potentially high impact in the commercial decisions of prospective buyers. Accordingly, the ICA qualified the commercial practice as unfair in violation of Article 23 bb-quarter of the Italian Consumer Code. Recently introduced by Legislative Decree No. 26/2023, in implementation of Directive 2019/2161/EC, this Article included among misleading commercial practices the sending, or instructing others to send, false consumer reviews or false appreciations, or providing false information regarding consumer reviews or appreciations on social media, in order to promote products.

Newsletter n. 97 – June 2024