Directory scams

Question

Is the Commission aware that the aggressive tactics of directory scams is continuing, with threatening letters being sent to victims who are being misled into signing what appears to be confirmation of the accuracy of the description of their company entered into the directory, but which also contains, in the small print, a concealed charge for the entry?

What action does the Commission intend to take?

Answer

EC law provides protection against business-to-business misleading advertising. Directive 2006/114/EC concerning misleading and comparative advertising prohibits misleading advertising practices affecting businesses, including misleading directory entry offers. Member States are responsible for establishing effective and adequate means to combat misleading advertising. Any concrete advertising practice should be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the national authorities or courts.

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concerns and is well aware that dishonest practices continue to cause important problems for small businesses in Europe. For this reason, and because of its link to EU legislation on business-to-consumer practices such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC), the Commission will evaluate the functioning of Directive 2006/114/EC in the context of the fitness check on legal acts related to consumer rights and advertising — along with the Consumer Sale of Goods Directive (1999/44/EC) and the Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC).

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