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Ecommerce 10.11.2011    Pdf    Appunta    Letti    Post successivo  

Ecommerce: Le pratiche commerciali aggressive

Il venditore ha diritto di agire legalmente contro i propri clienti, non solo in reazione a comportamenti diffamatori o offensivi.


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Sto leggendo un interessante testo in materia di ecommerce, e ho letto che il venditore non può minacciare le vie legali il compratore per ipotesi diverse dai commenti ingiuriosi o offensivi.

Questo sarebbe in forza dell'art.9 lett e) della direttiva 2005 29/CE.

E' una informazione sbagliata che va decisamente fermata, perchè autorizzerebbe ogni commento che tuttavia causa danni all'azienda.

Il testo spiega bene l'ipotesi prevista.

In ambito europeo, semplicemente, si dice che il venditore non può minacciare una causa se il propri diritto si è ormai prescritto, per esempio. Valutazione lasciata il giudice in sede di decisione, naturalmente.

Ma il non poter agire, seppur nel testo leggermente diverso adottato in Italia, con direttiva 146 del 2007, (e) qualsiasi minaccia di promuovere un'azione legale ove tale azione sia manifestamente temeraria o infondata.) è invece ampiamente lasciato all'impresa.

Quello che si assume è che l'impresa abbia la competenza di sapere quali sono i propri veri diritti, e che quindi non deve reagire minacciando le vie legali quando, per via della sua professionalità presunta, si sa che non ha diritto.

ps: l'europa usa il termine pratiche sleali, il testo italiano pratiche scorrette.

Vediamo la relazione:


^ Misleading and Aggressive Commercial Practices (Articles 6 to 9)

56. The vast majority of the practices which would be defined as unfair under the general prohibition fall within two categories: 'misleading' or 'aggressivè practices. For the sake of legal certainty, these two categories are elaborated more fully in Articles 6 to 9. These articles apply the three conditions of the general prohibition in these two key areas. That means that if a commercial practice is found to be either 'misleading' or 'aggressivè it will automatically be unfair, without any further reference to the conditions contained in Article 5.

57. The three conditions of the general prohibition are contained in the unfairness categories as follows:

* Misleading a consumer or treating them aggressively are considered in themselves to be distortions of consumer behaviour rather than legitimate influence and, as such, contrary to the requirements of professional diligence. Conduct that truly deceives, harasses, unduly influences or coerces will always violate the requirements of professional diligence and significantly impair the consumer's ability to make an informed decision. For this reason there is no separate reference to the professional diligence test or the 'distortion' element of the 'material distortion' definition.

* The 'materiality' condition is captured by the requirement in Articles 6 and 8 that the commercial practice "thereby causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise".

* In each of articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 the impact of the commercial practice on the "average consumer" will be assessed, in line with the conditions of the general prohibition. This means that where a particular group of consumers is directly targeted the impact of the commercial practice will be assessed from the perspective of the average member of that group.

58. These specific categories do not prejudice the autonomous functioning of the general prohibition, which will continue to operate as a safety net and hence provide a way of assessing the fairness of any current or future trade practices that do not fall within one of the two key types explicitly mentioned.

59. As explained above, rather than impose a specific unfairness category in relation to after-sale practices, this proposal applies the provisions of the Directive to commercial practices both before and after sale. The trader will consequently need to ensure that commercial practices after sale meet the same fairness standards as commercial practices before sale. However, the absence of after-sale services would not in itself be considered unfair unless the trader's conduct would lead the average consumer to have materially different expectations about the after-sale service available. For example, there is no obligation under the proposed Directive to offer a dedicated technical support hotline. However if the trader (e.g. a computer supplier) makes claims that he will provide such a facility and then does not do so, this is misleading and thus unfair.

Misleading practices (Articles 6 & 7)

60. A commercial practice may mislead either through action or omission, and this division is reflected in the structure of the articles.

61. The articles include the current provisions of the misleading advertising Directive and apply them to other commercial practices, including those after sale. These provisions reproduce the provisions of the existing misleading advertising Directive with the additions necessary to achieve full harmonisation. For example, it will be misleading to deceive consumers about the results to be expected from the product, such as weight loss, hair re-growth or enhanced performance.

62. An important principle here is that the effect of the commercial practice in its entirety, including the presentation, must be considered. If the presentation is obscure, Article 7 makes clear that this is tantamount to an omission.

63. The provisions do not attempt to define a comprehensive list of information to be positively disclosed in all circumstances. Rather the duty the framework directive imposes on a trader is not to omit 'material' information which the average consumer needs to make an informed transactional decision where this information would not be apparent from the context.

64. Under Article 7 the trader is obliged to disclose a limited number of core information items in order to enable the consumer to take an informed transactional decision. Such information is needed by the consumer at the stage when he is contemplating a decision to purchase The requirements provided for under Article 7(3) only apply to commercial communication, which constitutes an invitation to purchase as defined in Article 2. General brand or product awareness marketing, which would not meet the definition of an invitation to purchase would not need to include this information. Where this information is not apparent from the context, the trader will need to disclose it to avoid committing a misleading omission.

65. Article 7 also provides that information requirements established in other Directives will be regarded as 'material' information under this Directive. This approach seeks to balance consumers' needs for information with a recognition that an overload of information can be as much a problem to consumers as a lack of information.

66. Article 6 sets out the ways in which actions by traders could deceive consumers, which would make that action an unfair commercial practice. These include the requirements of the misleading advertising Directive, with certain additions, including after-sale customer assistance and complaint handling; the need for services, replacements or repairs; and representations concerning direct or indirect sponsorship.

67. Article 6 also covers marketing of a product by imitating the distinguishing features of another product in a way which causes confusion between the two products; non-compliance by a trader with commitments made to a public authority to cease an unfair commercial practice; and, under certain conditions, non-compliance by a trader with the provisions of a code of which the trader is a member.

68. The provision recognises that codes of conduct are fundamentally voluntary in nature and establishes criteria to indicate when the trader's performance in relation to the code might reasonably be expected to influence the consumer's decision. These provisions apply to any code, regardless of whether it is a national or EU-level Code. However, only those elements of codes which would or would be likely to materially distort the reasonable consumer's economic behaviour in relation to the product would be taken into account. Matters of taste, decency or social responsibility would, as explained above, therefore be outside scope unless the trader establishes a specific connection between its actions in these areas and its product in its marketing material.

69. As a general rule, the burden of proof of the unfairness of a disputed commercial practice lies with the plaintiff. Article 6(1f) makes an exception to this rule. If a trader makes a factual claim about a product, which he is unable to further substantiate, this will be taken into account by a judge when determining whether the trader engaged in any misleading and thus unfair commercial practice. This reversal of the burden of proof already exists as a possibility in the misleading advertising Directive and reflects the fact that consumers are in no position to prove that a factual claim is untrue. On the other hand, a trader claiming that his product has no side-effects or has been tested clinically or scientifically, is in a far better position to prove the accuracy of such claims, for instance by supplying research findings. If he is not in a position to do so, he should not make such factual claims.

Aggressive practices (Articles 8 & 9)

70. These articles describe three ways in which a commercial practice can be aggressive, namely harassment, coercion and undue influence. Criteria are set out to be applied in differentiating between aggressive practices on the one hand and legitimate marketing on the other.

71. 'Undue influence', defined in Article 2, involves that a trader exploits a position of power in a way which significantly limits the consumer's ability to make an informed decision. For example, where a consumer is already in debt to a trader and behind with payments, the trader would be using undue influence if said he would reschedule the debt on condition that the consumer bought another product. Offering an incentive to a consumer, such as a free bus to an out-of-town store, or refreshments while shopping, might influence a consumer but would not constitute undue influence because, as indicated above, it would not impair the consumer's ability to make an informed transactional decision. Following the same logic, the offering of a sales promotion could not, per se, be considered an aggressive practice.

10.11.2011 Spataro

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