Poste Italiane will have to pay a maxi fine of 5 million euros for unfair commercial practices. This was ordered by the Competition and Market Authority underlining that the amount of the sanction is not commensurate with the turnover of Poste Italiane (3.492 billion euros in 2019), but is the maximum currently allowed by the Consumer Code (in this optics the term maxi it is not unjustified) – to want to read between the lines even so subtly, the amount would have been even greater if the law had allowed it.
The matter of the dispute is represented by the registered delivery service, including the one that allows them to be collected digitally. The Antitrust Authority found amisleading promotion of service features which is in fact disregarded.
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More specifically, the central points of the story revolve around two aspects:
- Registered delivery service:
- Attempts to deliver registered letters are not always carried out in a certain and timely manner as reported in advertising messages; they are also performed in different ways than those provided by law: Poste Italiane sometimes uses for convenience the deposit of the notice of storage of the registered letter in the mailbox even when it would have been possible to deliver it to the recipient, reads the note of the AGCM. Poste Italiane is also accused of failing to carry out the appropriate checks and of failing to take corrective measures to avoid these inefficiencies.
- Digital collection service for registered mail:
- Poste Italiane has not correctly informed the user by omitting in advertisements promoting the service that can be used only if the registered letter has also been sent digitally – it is not clarified that this service can only be used for digitally originated mailings, the AGCM says. In other words, the service does not allow you to withdraw a paper registered letter at any time via PC, smartphone and tablet, but this possibility is reserved only for those sent via a digital tool (web or app).
In short: registered letters delivered not promptly, sometimes by means other than those permitted by law, and tools that, despite the efforts that Poste Italiane is making to modernize itself using digital technology, are not properly advertised. The effects on consumers and the administration of Italian justice (the registered letter is an essential tool for the notification of the acts of the trials) are defined extremely serious and the contested conduct extremely frequent, while as regards sanctions, the AGCM hopes that Italy will adopt the European directive (2019/2126) as soon as possible, which would have allowed the application of a penalty equal to 4% of turnover.