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European Commission takes action to protect businesses against marketing scams

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Today, the European Commission outlined a series of actions to tackle marketing scams, such as those of misleading directory companies.

"The practices of misleading directory companies, fake invoices and similar scams must be stopped. Small enterprises are the backbone of the European economy and can ill afford losing money to swindlers. We are determined to improve the security of doing business in Europe."

The aim is to better protect businesses, professionals and NGOs across Europe from dishonest traders who do not play by the rules and use misleading marketing practices, such as sending out forms asking businesses to update details in their directories, seemingly for free, and then charging them annual fees.

Small companies are particularly vulnerable to fraudsters, who are frequently operating from another jurisdiction within the EU. This makes enforcement difficult. The Commission therefore announced that it plans to beef up the existing legislation (the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive 2006/114/EC) to explicitly ban practices such as concealing the commercial intent of a communication, while at the same time stepping up enforcement of the rules in cross-border cases.

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