On May 20, 2014, the Italian, the Italian Competition Authority initiated an investigation proceeding against TripAdvisor for unfair commercial practices in order to verify whether the company adopted measures to prevent and limit risks of fake reviews, posted on its web site. The Italian Competition Authority decided to start that investigation, taking into account the requests and reports received by consumers, owners of tourist facilities (hotels, restaurants and other venues) and by the National Consumers Union.

Under the Italian Consumer Code, a “commercial practice” is any action, omission, conduct, commercial communication, as all forms of advertising (direct marketing and product package included) that a trader uses to promote, sell or provide goods or services to consumers. A commercial practice shall be unfair when it is contrary to the requirements of professional diligence and it materially distorts or is likely to materially distort the economic behavior of the average consumer whom it reaches or to whom it is addressed.