Cittadinanzattiva, the association founded in 1978 to protect the rights of Italians, has presented an in-depth study into the inadequacy of public services in the country based on complaints phoned in to the PiT Servizi centre, which provides free advice to the public.

The report shows a 25 per cent rise in grievances against public services in 2008 compared to the previous year. Topping the list of gripes are telecommunication services, which comprise 24 per cent of all calls to the centre. This was closely followed by public administration (20 per cent) local public utilities and banking and financial services (both at 13 per cent), electricity and gas providers (10 per cent). Postal services, rail and air transport and insurance all account for between 6 and 4 per cent each.

The eight regions which complain the most are (from north to south) Piemonte, Lombardy, Friuli, Lazio, Abruzzo, Sardinia, Campania and Sicily.

The association points out that Italians have very few means of defence against derisory services which often break laws, such as fees for closing bank accounts, which are now illegal.

Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of a wrongful service should make a point of contacting Cittadinanzattiva on tel. 0636718555, or emailing them at