Italy: Omnibus Directive implemented

The new law will enter into force on 2 April 2023

In brief

On 18 March 2023, Legislative Decree No. 26 of 2023 implementing EU Directive 2019/2161 ("Omnibus Directive") was published in the Italian Official Journal.

After a long implementation process, the legislative decree will enter into force on 2 April 2023, amending and integrating the text of Legislative Decree no. 206 of 2005 ("Consumer Code").

The new rules are intended to strengthen consumer protection when contracting, especially online, with traders. The new rules are also intended to fully harmonise consumer protection rules at European level by introducing greater transparency and more effective sanctions with regard to unfair commercial practices, unfair terms and distance contracts.


New measures

Increase in sanctions related to:

  • Unfair commercial practices and distance selling

Pursuant to art. 27 para 9 of Consumer Code

For national violations

The maximum administrative fine that can be issued by the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) is raised from EUR 5 to 10,000,000 in case of unfair commercial practice and/or violation of the rules on distance selling or for violation of urgent measures, injunctions or removal of effects or commitment undertaken by the trader.

For union violations

Sanctions up to 4% of the trader's annual turnover of the trader realised in Italy or in EU Member States concerned by the violation and where information on annual turnover is not available the maximum amount of the sanction shall be 2 million of Euros.

  • Unfair clauses

New sanction regime for unfair terms. The maximum amount is equal to the maximum sanctions applicable to unfair commercial practices. The new paragraph 2-bis of Article 37-bis of the Consumer Code provides that if the ICA ascertains the use of unfair clauses, it shall apply the sanction provided for in Article 27(9) (unfair commercial practices).

New unfair commercial practices

The new regulation introduces into our legal system new cases of unfair commercial practices as well as strengthens consumer protection measures (in terms of new mandatory pre-contractual information and withdrawal) in contracts concluded at a distance or off business premises.

Such protection measures apply also to contracts under which the consumer does not pay a price but provides personal data to the trader that process them for purposes other than for providing the digital content or digital service.

Focus information box

In particular it should be noted:

Two new misleading omissions:

  • Art. 22, para 4, letter (e-bis) of Consumer Code: It must be specified whether the third party offering the products on an online marketplace is a trader or not.
  • Art. 22, para 4 bis of Consumer Code: Key parameters that determine the classification of products presented to consumers as a result of their research and the relative importance of these parameters compared to other parameters must be made accessible to consumers (this applies to websites that offer research for key word or other data).

Two new conducts considered always misleading:

  • Art. 23, para 1, letter (m-bis) of Consumer Code: Providing search results in response to a consumer's online search without clearly indicating any paid advertisement or specific payment for better product ranking within those results
  • Art. 23, para 1, letter (bb-ter) of Consumer Code: Indicate that reviews of a product are submitted by consumers who have actually used or purchased the product without taking reasonable and proportionate steps to verify that the reviews are from such consumers.

Some of the new pre-contractual information obligations for distance contracts:

  • Informations to contact the trader (telephone and e-mail address) any other means of online communication which guarantee that the consumer can keep any written correspondence, including the date and time of such correspondence, with the trader on a durable medium
  • That the price was personalised on the basis of automated decision-making
  • A reminder of the existence of a legal guarantee of conformity also for digital services
  • The 'functionality', 'compatibility' and 'interoperability' capabilities of the digital service

Specific additional information requirements for contracts concluded on online marketplaces:

  • General information, made available in a specific section of the online interface that is directly and easily accessible from the page where the offers are presented, on the main parameters determining ranking of offers presented to the consumer as a result of the search query and the relative importance of those parameters as opposed to other parameters
  • Whether the third party offering the goods, services or digital content is a trader or not, on the basis of the declaration of that third party to the provider of the online marketplace
  • Where the third party offering the goods, services or digital content is not a trader, that the consumer rights stemming from Union consumer protection law do not apply to the contract
  • Where applicable, how the obligations related to the contract are shared between the third party offering the goods, services or digital content and the provider of the online marketplace

Pursuant to Article 49-bis of the Consumer Code, all information must be provided in a clear and comprehensible manner and in a manner appropriate to the means of distance communication adopted.


This is therefore a modernisation of the discipline in the light of the new frontiers of online transactions and the constantly evolving digital tools used in relations between traders and consumers.

Price reduction announcements

Further intervention concerns price reduction announcements, which must indicate the price charged in the previous 30 days.

The new Article 17-bis of the Consumer Code establish the specific modalities for indicating the previous price and its exceptions (e.g., products that have been on the market for less than thirty days and perishable agricultural and food products).

The new provisions apply also to extraordinary sales but NOT to sales below cost. With respect to promotional campaigns, the new rules will apply from the 90th day following the entry into force of the Decree (i.e., 1 July 2023), in order to allow the companies involved to adapt to the new regulatory framework.

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