On 3 August 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) imposed a fine of 5 million euros on Trenitalia S.p.a. (“Trenitalia”), the main train operator in Italy for passenger rail transport, for an unfair commercial practice to the detriment of consumers.
AGCM’s investigation revealed that the travel solutions proposed by Trenitalia following a search on its corporate website, via the station’s self-service emitters and the Trenitalia application for smartphones and tablets, omitted numerous solutions with regional trains, which are generally cheaper, even if they are alternatives that can substitute those shown to consumers, thereby affecting their choice.
In particular, the travel solution that includes a change of train and the use of regional trains is never shown in the search results and can only be found through the specific search option “Regional”; on the contrary, the website offers the solution that uses high-speed trains (Frecce) and Intercity trains. Trenitalia has in no way informed consumers about this important limitation, but has even used the misleading name “All trains” on its corporate website.
In addition to the economic sanction, Trenitalia will have to publish a correctional statement to inform consumers on its website, the application for smartphones and tablets and the self-service emitters at the station.