With the holidays approaching, the EU has brought in new rules designed to protect consumers from sharp business practises as they shop for goods and services, be it on the internet or in person. Its a crackdown on misleading advertising and aggressive selling practices. For the first time European laws against unfair commercial practices should be harmonised.
Mike Haley, the head of Consumer Protection at Britain’s Office of Fair Trading, explained: “The new directive, and the law in the UK that comes from the directive gives us important new powers of inspections, of test purchasing to make sure that we can protect the consumer more. But more importantly it gives us a wider application to stop a range of unfair commercial practices which are against professional due diligence.”
European Consumer Affairs Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva, said the EU Directive is intended to make people more confident about buying from another European country: “I don’t want to see consumers misled anywhere in Europe. They should be equally well protected, because trust is the currency of a modern economy.”
Included in the directive is a ban on fake ‘free’ offers, such as an Italian internet invitation to register for free mobile phone texts which turned out to cost three euros a week.