Unfair trading practices

When selling a good or service, you must consider good commercial practices and be fair to consumers. A trading technique is an activity, omission, conduct, a commercial communication, including advertising and marketing, that is directly related to the advertising, offering, sale, or delivery of goods or services to the consumer.
Unfair trading practices are those that mislead you or are aggressive towards you. Unfair trading practices are prohibited in the European Union.

A trading practice is misleading if the trader or service provider gives you false information about the goods or services or provides the correct information in a way that is likely to mislead you because it is unclear, incomprehensible, or ambiguous; does not provide you with important information that you would need to know when making a purchase decision (e.g., information about the main features and price of the goods or services, maintenance and spare parts related to the use of the goods).

An aggressive trading practice is when a trader or service provider restricts your freedom of choice by harassing, forcing, or influencing you to buy their goods or services. For example, if a trader or service provider gives the impression that you cannot leave before concluding a contract, consistently makes unsolicited offers to you by phone or e-mail, charges you for unsolicited goods sent to you, and so on.

If a trader or service provider uses unfair trading technique in a transaction with you, this does not in itself invalidate the transaction. If you have suffered damage as a result of unfair business practices, you can take legal action or go to the Consumer Disputes Committee to protect your contractual rights.

Examples of misleading trading techniques

  • When advertising a product or service, the seller claims that it is only available for a limited time, even though the product or service is actually available for several weeks at the same price.
  • As a special feature of its offer, the retailer or service provider provides you with the rights normally granted by law, e.g. the e-shop advertises video cameras and states that only its shop has a 14-day return right.
  • A retailer or service provider makes a false claim that a product or service cures a disease, malfunction or malformation, such as an advertisement for a mouthwash claiming that the product cures stomach ulcers.
  • The trader or service provider adds an invoice to the marketing materials that gives you the false impression that you have already ordered the goods or services, such as postcards with an invoice that gives the impression that the item has to be paid for.

Examples of aggressive trading techniques

  • If a dealer or a representative of the service provider visited your home and ignored your request to leave or not return.
  • The trader or service provider gives the impression that you have already won a prize or other benefits after a certain activity. In reality, however, there is no prize or other equivalent benefit, or receiving the prize requires you to bear the costs.
  • The trader or service provider informs you that if you do not buy the goods or services, you are putting their work or income at risk.

Remember!

  • The use of unfair trading technique is prohibited before, after and during the transaction.
  • A list of prohibited trading techniques is contained in the Consumer Protection Act.
  • Be sure to report unfair trading practices to the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, which has the right to punish the trader or service provider.

Last updated: 08.04.2021