Feeling ripped off? New public website on unfair commercial practices can help
On 7 November the European Commission launched a new website (www.isitfair.eu) which offers consumers of all ages help and advice if they think that they may have been misled or ripped off by rogue traders or just want to find out which scams they need to watch out for. The idea is to boost the confidence of consumers by providing them with clear information about their rights and where to seek help if they find out that they have fallen victim to a scam.
The site contains practical day-to-day examples of unfair practices, including a Black List of practices, which have been banned under the Unfair Commercial Practices (UCP) Directive. The Black List contains the practices which are clearly illegal and most damaging to consumers. Some common examples of such practices include:
- bait advertising: luring the consumer into buying from a company by advertising a product at a very low price without having a reasonable stock available;
- fake "free" offers: falsely creating the impression of free offers by describing a product as "free", "without charge" or similar if the consumer in fact has to pay;
- limited offers: falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time.
As well as getting practical advice about their cases, visitors to the site can also test their knowledge about what is a legitimate practice and what is not, or view entertaining film clips depicting some common scams. The site is available in 22 official EU languages.
You can help spread the word about the site, for example by adding the website link in your e-mail signature or placing the campaign banner on your own site.