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Misleading commercial practices

Misleading commercial practices are, in particular, those which may affect or manipulate the consumer’s decision by providing false or misleading information.

Commercial practices are in all circumstances considered misleading if the trader:

  1. claims that he is a signatory to specific rules of conduct (code of conduct) when he is not, or that such code of conduct has an endorsement from a specific body when it does not have;
  2. uses a quality mark or any other equivalent marks without having obtained the necessary authorisation;
  3. claims that he, his product or the service he provides has been approved, endorsed or authorised when he/it has not, or makes such a claim without complying with the terms of the approval, endorsement or authorisation;
  4. makes an invitation to purchase products or services at a specified price without disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds the trader may have for believing that he will not be able to offer for supply or to procure another trader to supply, those or equivalent products or services at that price for a period that is, and in quantities that are reasonable, having regard to the product or service, the scale of advertising and the price offered (bait advertising);
  5. makes an invitation to purchase a product or a service at a specified price and then refuses to show the advertised items to consumers or refuses to take orders for the product or service or deliver it within reasonable time, or demonstrates a defective sample of it with the intention of promoting a different product or service (bait and switch);
  6. states falsely that a product or a service will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient time to make an informed choice;
  7. undertakes to provide guarantee and after-guarantee service to consumers with whom he has communicated prior to forming a contract in a language which is not an official language of the Member State where the transaction took place and then makes such service available only in another language without clearly disclosing this to the consumer before the contract was formed;
  8. states or creates the impression that a product or a service can legally be sold when it cannot;
  9. presents rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of the trader’s offer;
  10. promotes products or services using editorial content in the media, where he has paid for the promotion without making that clear to the consumer;
  11. makes a materially inaccurate claim concerning the nature and extent of the risk to the personal security of the consumer or his family if the consumer does not purchase the product or does not use the service provided by the trader;
  12. promotes a product in such a manner which may mislead the consumer into believing that the product is made by a specific producer when it is not;
  13. establishes, operates or promotes a scheme where a consumer’s compensation is derived from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme rather than from the sale or consumption of products (pyramid scheme);
  14. claims falsely that he is about to cease trading or move premises;
  15. claims that the products or services offered or sold by him are able to facilitate winning in games of chance;
  16. claims falsely that a product or a service is able to cure illnesses, dysfunction or malformations;
  17. passes on inaccurate information on market conditions or on the possibility of finding the product or service with the intention of inducing the consumer to acquire the product or service at conditions less favourable than normal market conditions;
  18. offers products or services in a prize competition without awarding the prizes or without awarding prizes corresponding to the original offer or a reasonable equivalent;
  19. describes a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge” or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item;
  20. includes in marketing material a document seeking payment which gives the consumer the impression that he has already ordered the marketed product or service when he has not;
  21. creates the impression or claims falsely that he is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely represents himself as a consumer; or
  22. creates the impression or claims falsely that guarantee and after-guarantee service in relation to a product is also available in a Member State other than the one in which the product is sold.