With decision No. 28446/2020, the Italian Antitrust Authority sanctioned with a fine of 550,000 Euros a company engaged in the on-line sale of masks without the CE mark for unfair commercial practices.
The Authority found that advertising messages displayed in the relevant website asserted the alleged efficacy of the masks in preventing the COVID-19 contagion, also highlighting the “FFP2” filtering capacity of these products, a circumstance which would have required the presence of the CE mark for their placing on the market. Moreover, the Authority pointed out that the selling prices applied by the company were significantly higher than those of the pre-pandemic period and that the company invited the public to purchase the relevant products as soon as possible in order to ensure a rapid delivery.
In addition to the lack of the CE mark and the excessive pricing, the Authority resolved that the promise of delivery in 24/48 hours was also unfair, being it suitable to alter the decision-making capacity of the consumer on the basis of “a deceptive and ambiguous representation of reality, based on the exploitation of the health emergency situation, with possible risks for the health and safety of consumers”.