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An "EU sweep" is a joint EU investigation and enforcement action to check for compliance with consumer laws on a particular market in order to see where consumer rights are being compromised or denied. National enforcement authorities then follow up on these findings, contacting the incompliant companies and demanding that they come into line with the relevant requirements. Legal action can be taken against operators who violate EU consumer law.

On 17 November 2009, Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva announced the results of Mobile Phone Services Sweep which began in June 2008 and targeted websites selling ringtones, wallpapers and other mobile phone services.

Results

The results of the checks show that 70% of websites investigated for mis-selling ringtones, wallpapers and other mobile phone services have been corrected or closed, following an 18 month EU consumer crackdown carried out by 27 Member States, Norway and Iceland. Since June 2008, when initial checks took place, 301 websites were investigated by national enforcement authorities for serious breaches of EU consumer law. 70% of the 301 cases investigated, have now been resolved. 52% (159 websites) have been corrected and 17% (54 websites) have closed. The three main problems found were: unclear pricing (for example, information was missing or incomplete); failure to provide complete trader information; and misleading advertising, in particular, advertising ringtones as "free" where the consumer is in fact tied into a paying subscription. In Italy, in February and May enforcement authorities, as a result of the sweep, imposed large fines of over 2 million Euro on 9 major companies found to be in breach of the law.


Find out more:

Speech: "Ringtone sweep wrap up" ( PDF versionpdf )

Press release: "70% of ringtone-scam websites cleaned following EU investigation" ( PDF versionpdf )

Memo: "EU clean-up on ringtone scams. Frequently Asked Questions" ( PDF versionpdf )




 
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