The Italian Communications Authority published a new regulation on protections for end-users in agreements for the provision of electronic communications services

The Italian Communications Authority (“AGCOM”) recently issued a regulation on protections for end-users in agreements for the provision of electronic communications services (“User Rights Regulation”)[1]. This replaced a previous regulation.[2]

AGCOM issued the User Rights Regulation in response to a recent update to the Italian Communications Code (“ICC”)[3] in light of the European Electronic Communications Code.[4] Relatedly, the numerous regulations that implemented the ICC over the years, including the User Rights Regulation, needed to be updated.

The User Rights Regulation applies to providers offering publicly available electronic communications services to end-users. A few specific provisions apply to services provided to consumers, micro and small enterprises, and nonprofit organizations (for instance, they must receive specific pre-contractual information listed in the User Rights Regulation).

The User Rights Regulation mostly implements the provisions set forth in the ICC and includes provisions on informational obligations, duration and termination of the agreement, amendments to general terms and conditions, right of withdrawal, and number portability; often these provisions simply repeat the wording of the ICC.

Some of the major provisions introduced by the User Rights Regulation regard the following:

  • Information obligations: The User Rights Regulation provides a list of information that all providers of publicly available electronic communications services, save some specific exceptions, must communicate. Specific information obligations are set forth for agreements covering transfer to a different provider. Information obligations include informing users that they are terminating the contractual relationship with the previous provider before they sign a new contract.
  • Form to highlight amendments to existing contracts: Implementing Article 98-septiesdecies, paragraph 5 of the ICC, the User Rights Regulation includes a form that providers must use to communicate amendments to existing contracts and the related right of withdrawal (a similar form was also provided under the previous regulation).[5]
  • Agreements containing consumer price index adjustment clauses: This significant new factor, added by the User Rights Regulation, regards the rules for introducing clauses on consumer price index adjustments that apply also to agreements already in place. For example, the User Rights Regulation contains transparency rules, establishes that such clauses can be included in agreements already in place only with the prior written express consent of the end-user, and sets forth how and deadlines by which users must be informed about any variation in prices. In an exception to the general rule, consumers do not have the right of withdrawal due to variation in prices based on an objective consumer price index.

[1] Resolution No. 307/23/CONS of December 5, 2023, published in January 2024.

[2] Resolution No. 519/15/CONS.

[3] Legislative Decree No. 259/2003.

[4] Directive (EU) 2018/1972.

[5] Article 98-septiesdecies, paragraph 5 of the ICC.

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