IP353-PS11854B - Italian Competition Authority: optima Italia fined for unfair commercial practices in the supply of electricity and gas
The Authority has imposed a fine of 1.3 million after closing two investigation proceedings, one of which was conducted on the grounds of failure to fulfil the commitments made binding through a decision of July 2021
The Italian Competition Authority has closed two investigation proceedings against Optima Italia S.p.A. and imposed a fine of 1.3 million euro.
The first investigation was commenced for a failure to fulfil the commitments that were made binding by the Authority through a decision of 13 July 2021 in order to eliminate the effects of previously alleged unfair practices. In particular, the contractual documentation and advertising material had not been properly completed, nor the reimbursement procedure proved to be effective for customers who had unduly suffered cancellation of discounts in the event of early withdrawal.
The second investigation was instead initiated to ascertain the unfairness of the commercial practices implemented by the company in the presentation of the economic terms and conditions for the supply of electricity and gas on the liberalised market. During the proceedings, the Authority highlighted significant concerns over a lack of information transparency about the characteristics of the supply, the duration of discounts, and the consequences in the event of withdrawal.
On the basis of the investigation documents, it was found that Optima provided misleading and incomplete information in promoting commercial offers and that its conduct was aggressive, since - in the event of early withdrawal of the user - it recovered all the discounts granted during the supply, through cancellation in the closing invoice by way of liquidated damages.
However, the Authority reduced the amount of the fine to 1.3 million euro, taking account of the company’s effort - after commencement of the proceedings - to make the contractual and promotional documentation accurate and transparent and to grant a reasonable refund to the consumers who had the previously granted discounts unduly cancelled.
Rome, 21 October 2022