Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Is it fair?

The web page www.isitfair.eu contains practical information for consumers on how to check if they have fallen victim to an unfair commercial practice, and how to get help.

The burning question for consumers undoubtedly is: “How can I tell when a particular commercial practice is unfair?” The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive simplifies the answer to this question. Certain commercial practices are always prohibited under the Directive throughout the European Union while the legality of others can be determined by applying clear and common criteria.

First of all, certain commercial practices are always prohibited under the Directive. To ensure that traders, marketing professionals and customers are clear about what is banned, a black list of 31 unfair practices has been drawn up. The same list applies in all 27 Member States of the EU. The legality of a commercial practice that is not banned outright can be assessed by evaluating it against specific legal criteria. Two main categories of unfair commercial practices – "misleading" and "aggressive" – are described in detail in the Directive. The vast majority of practices which would be considered unfair fall under these provisions.

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