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European Commission - Press release

Distance marketing of financial services: Commission refers Italy to the Court of Justice

Brussels, 29 September 2011 - The European Commission has decided to refer Italy to the Court of Justice of the European Union for inadequate transposition of Directive 2002/65/EC concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services into its national law. Italy has not respected the timeline for adopting amendments to its national law and thus failed to adequately protect some consumer rights.

This Directive grants consumers, amongst other rights, the right to withdraw from a contract with a service provider within 14 calendar days of its conclusion.

It would appear that in Italy a consumer cannot withdraw from a car insurance contract if during these 14 days an accident covered by the insurance has taken place. This is contrary to the Directive.

The Commission launched an infringement procedure (IP/09/1450) against Italy on 8 October 2009. In reply, Italy informed of its intentions to amend national legislation to comply with the Directive.

However to date Italy has not ensured proper implementation of the Directive. As a result, the Commission has decided today to refer Italy to the Court of Justice.


The Directive covers those instances where a consumer purchases a service from a credit card company, an investment fund, an insurance company, or another financial institution over the internet or by telephone/fax.

To boost consumer confidence when shopping for such services from a distance, the Directive lays down:

  • an obligation to provide consumers with comprehensive information before a contract is concluded;

  • a consumer right to withdraw from the contract during a certain period;

  • a ban on abusive marketing practices seeking to oblige consumers to buy a service they have not solicited ("inertia selling");

  • rules to restrict other practices such as unsolicited phone calls and e-mails ("cold calling" and "spamming").

For more information on the infringement procedure: MEMO/11/646

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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