The importance of consumer law in resolving alleged competition problems has increased considerably. The concept of “consumer empowerment” is playing an increasingly important role in the ACM’s work of regulating corporate behaviour. The ACM monitors compliance with the legislation and regulations in the field of consumer law.
We advice businesses on things such as:
- unfair trading practices
Unfair or misleading commercial practices
Consumers are protected against businesses that approach them in a misleading or aggressive manner. The ACM monitors this.
Unfair trading practices include:
- misleading advertising
- advertising products that are not in fact available (“teasers”)
- wrongly claiming to comply with a code of practice or to have earned an accreditation mark
- stating prices without mentioning all the additional costs
- comitting information on important product features
- acquiring new customers in an aggressive manner (aggressive selling)
- claiming that a product is “free” although costs are still involved
The ACM can impose substantial fines on companies that act contrary to the regulations regarding unfair or misleading trading practices.
Consumers are increasingly buying goods and services on the Internet, but also by phone or using order forms, for example from a catalogue. In the case of a distance contract, there is no direct contact between the enterprise and the consumer, as there is in a bricks-and-mortar store. Distance selling – for example via the Internet, SMS, or phone – is therefore subject to additional rules. There are specific information requirements that an enterprise must comply with.
Webshops are subject to additional consumer protection rules. There are also specific rules regarding the supply of energy at a distance, distance selling of digital content (music, games or software), and telemarketing.