New fine for Vodafone and Wind Tre for Iban discrimination

The two telephone operators do not allow users to use IBANs of foreign current accounts, not even if they come from EU member states

Vodafone and WindTre have been accused of Iban discrimination. To trigger the sanction by the Authority Guarantor of Competition and MarketĀ (AGCOM) against the two companies would have been just the discrimination against its customers who would have wanted to make the domiciliation of bank bills on bank accounts based abroad, although in the territory of the European Union.

For this reason, the guarantor has imposed two penalties, a total of 800,000 euros divided into 300,000 euros for WindTre and 500,000 for Vodafone. The fines come after AGCOM's investigations, dated spring 2019, which found both companies to be in violation of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council no. 260/2012 establishing technical and commercial requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euros. More than a year later and in light of the failure to comply with Resolutions 27642 for Vodafone and 27643 for WindTre, the Guarantor has therefore chosen to proceed with the fine against them.

Vodafone and Iban discrimination: what happened and why

The accusation made against Vodafone clearly emerges from bulletin no. 38 of September 28 by the AGCM, namely that of not having provided "to allow consumers to proceed, in complete autonomy and without any discrimination, to the domiciliation of their fixed telephone users on the IBAN of foreign banks in the European Union through the insertion of this IBAN within a dedicated string, as is possible for consumers with an Italian IBAN".

On the other hand, Vodafone has underlined how this is nothing more than a "merely technical difference", given that the domiciliation on national IBAN is completely automated while that on EU IBAN would require the intermediation of an operator, with a difference in activation times of around 6-7 minutes. Moreover, it would only be a "transitional solution", with an adjustment of the system that would allow the activation of Vodafone offers with IBAN of any country in the SEPA area expected by November 2020.

WindTre and Iban discrimination: what happened and why

WindTre, as we learn from the same bulletin, has also suffered the same fate. We read: "compared to the online procedure, Wind Tre has not provided to allow the consumer to proceed in complete autonomy to the domiciliation of their utilities on IBAN of foreign banks in the European Union through the inclusion of foreign IBAN within a dedicated string. As pointed out by Wind Tre itself, in fact, the string on the website in the page dedicated to the choice of payment instrument could be used, at least until July 27, 2020, only by consumers who have an Italian IBAN".

Indicating it as a "mere material error", the company chose on a transitional basis to include a free phone number to perform the operation not allowed through the website, also adding the possibility of being contacted by an operator. For the Guarantor, however, this option did not seem sufficient, since not able to guarantee the consumer to proceed independently, and has proceeded to sanction to be completed within 30 days.