The Competition and Markets Authority (AGCM), commonly known as Antitrust, has forced the Intesa Sanpaolo bank to stop transferring part of its customers to Isybank, an online bank which is part of the same group. The AGCM opened an investigation at the beginning of November, after receiving thousands of reports on this subject.
The transfer of accounts had in fact affected around 300 thousand customers out of a total of 2.4 million Intesa Sanpaolo, and had generated numerous complaints due to the way in which the decision had been communicated: many people involved had received as only communication that their account would have been transferred from one bank to another according to a notice sent on the Intesa Sanpaolo application during the summer. Many said they either didn’t notice it or read it too late to be able to decline the ride in time. Instead, according to Intesa, communications took place using the methods initially chosen by customers.
According to the AGCM, the transfer “was planned in a manner that did not comply with the provisions of the Consumer Code”, and it was for this reason that it ordered its interruption. In the press release explaining the decision, the AGCM specifies that “following the transfer, affected account holders will no longer be able to access the branch or Internet banking services via personal computers and will have to carry out banking transactions only via applications. In addition, new current accounts provide for different economic conditions and the loss of previously available services (for example: virtual cards for making secure online purchases, bank checks, access to mortgage contracts).”
According to the AGCM, these changes to the contracts were “unilaterally imposed without prior customer consent to the transfer having been requested”, and should therefore not be considered lawful. The two banks will now have to give customers “a reasonable period of time to give their express consent to the transfer”. Thus, those who declare themselves against will have the right to keep their previous current account under the same conditions.