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Misleading and Comparative Advertising


Public Consultation on Directive 2006/114/EC concerning Misleading and Comparative Advertising and on unfair commercial practices affecting businesses.

The European Commission conducted a public consultation on the Directive on Misleading and Comparative Advertising (October - December 2011). The results are available here.

The Commission will broadly report about the results in its upcoming Communication on misleading marketing practices and will use them when preparing future actions in the area of business-to-business misleading marketing practices.  We would like to thank all stakeholders who replied to this public consultation.

Respondents brought many different cases of misleading marketing practices to our attention, often involving several Member States. The most frequent misleading practices are rather similar: A dishonest trader deceives a victim into giving consent and a contract is concluded with little or no service in return, but with an exorbitant price and abusive contractual conditions. Afterwards, the trader uses all possible means to enforce the payment.

Misleading marketing practices concern mainly SMEs and independent professionals but other types of businesses and organisations are also affected. Increasingly fraudsters make use of the internet.

Most respondents want the European Commission to increase protection of SMEs and independent professionals against misleading marketing practices. According to respondents, the biggest problem is inefficient enforcement of the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive at cross-border level. However, also the substantive rules are considered too weak and unclear to be effective against such schemes.