Stricter (online) consumer protection rules: ban on false reviews and information obligation on personalised offers
7 June 2022 – Linda Eijpe
On 28 May 2022, the implementation Act for modernising consumer protection will enter into force. The Act sees to the implementation of the EU Directive as regards the better enforcement and modernisation of Union consumer protection rules (2019/2161). Below are a number of changes:
Webshops and digital platforms will be prohibited from posting or causing to be posted false reviews. The reviews must be checked for authenticity before they are posted. The way in which the check is done must also be made known to the consumer. It will also be prohibited to have someone else post fake consumer reviews against payment.
In addition, sellers must let consumers know if they receive a personalised price offer, for example, by having an algorithm track what the relevant consumer has bought and which websites she has viewed. In addition, it will be prohibited to display search results without making clear that it concerns paid advertising or that payment has been made to obtain a higher placement.
Obligation to inform online platform/sellers
Furthermore, the online platforms must let consumers know who is responsible (seller or platform) for the delivery and handling of returns, so that consumers know who they should contact in case of problems. On the online platform, it must also be clear how the order of search results that a consumer receives is determined.
Information obligation and personal data of free services
Finally, providers of free services must provide information on, for instance, the duration and termination of the agreement. Consumers have the right to terminate the agreement without reason within fourteen days. The provider must then cease processing personal data and return them to the consumer.
From-for price indications
If a trader announces a price reduction (a from–for price), it must use the lowest prices applied by the trader during a period of not less than thirty days preceding the price reduction as the reference price (the ‘from’ price).
The Act concerns the implementation of the European Directive (2019/2161) and consumers therefore have the same protection in the other EU countries as well. If a company violates the new rules, the Dutch Authority for Consumer and Market (“ACM”) can impose a fine.
Do you want to know the consequences of the implementation Act for your company, please contact Linda Eijpe.