By means of Legislative Decree No. 26 of March 7, 2023, published in the Official Gazette No. 66 of March 18, 2023, Italy has finally completed the process of implementing Directive (EU) 2019/2161 of the European Parliament and of the Council (so-called "Omnibus Directive") as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules.

The Decree enacts a significant revision of certain mechanisms regulated by the Consumer Code. This first note examines the changes related to the new specific information requirements applicable to online sales; forthcoming notes will explain the new sanctioning system and the novelties regarding the right of withdrawal.

As per the new definition, an online marketplace is a service using software, including websites or parts thereof or applications, operated by or on behalf of the trader, that enables consumers to conclude distance contracts.

The provider of the online marketplace is obliged to give key information about the contractual relationship before it is finalised. As a result of the implementation of the OD, platforms are burdened with additional specific information requirements. More specifically, before a consumer is bound by a distance contract or an offer on the online marketplace, the provider shall indicate in a clear, understandable manner that is appropriate to the means of communication:

  • the geographic address where it is established as well as the telephone number and electronic address (non-mandatory information up to now); such means of communication must enable the consumer to contact the provider quickly and to communicate with him efficiently; 
  • the criteria according to which offers of other products sold on the platform are illustrated, organized or presented to the consumer as a result of his or her searches (e.g. "similar products," "other users have also seen ..." "you might also be interested in ...");
  • whether the third party offering the goods or services on the e-commerce platform is a professional or not and, in the latter case, that consumer protection rules do not apply.

The changes introduced do not affect the liability regime towards the consumer that the online marketplace provider or third-party professional has in relation to the contract.

Such new specific information requirements will be effective as of April 2, 2023.