Tagged: Directive 2005/29/EC

Belgium & EU B-2-C Commercial Practices. Will they ever learn?

By Johan Vannerom

In the field of EU B-2-C Commercial Practices, Belgium is a hard learner. Although the Belgian trade practices legislation has already been under investigation several times and has even been declared incompatible with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (Directive 2005/29/EC) by the EU Court of Justice (e.g. Pelckmans Turnhout NV against Walter Van Gastel Balen NV a.o.; WAMO BVBA against JBC NV and Modemakers Fashion NV; VTB-VAB against Total Belgium,  and Galatea against Sanoma Magazines), the Belgian legislator nonetheless ‘maintained’ certain strict rules. For instance, the Belgian Law of 6 April 2010 on commercial practices, consumer information and consumer protection (LPMC) still excludes certain professions from its scope of application and includes strict rules on discount prices and on the organization of travelling trading and fairground activities.

 Not surprisingly, the European Commission decided to challenge the aforementioned rules and bring an action for failure to fulfil obligations under Article 258 TFEU against Belgium. In this short contribution, I will discuss the judgment of the EU Court of Justice (‘CJEU’) following the aforementioned action. This judgment does not only have an impact on current Belgian trade practices legislation – the LPMC was abolished and replaced by Book VI of the (recently adopted) Belgian Code of Economic Law –, but also contains lessons for other EU Member States.

Continue reading

The CJEU overshoots the mark of consumer protection: ‘Winner’ means WINNER and ‘prize’ means FREE PRIZE (C-428/11)

In its Judgment of 18 October 2012 in case C-428/11 Purely Creative and Others v Office of Fair Trading, the CJEU was confronted with the interpretation of consumer protection rules in the field of aggressive commercial practices in a distant sales scenario. The judgment places a severe restriction on commercial practices that include the award of ‘prizes’ to targeted consumers, by determing that “the prohibition on making the consumer bear any cost whatsoever is absolute, whether it be the cost of a stamp or of a simple telephone conversation”. In my opinion, the CJEU has overshot the mark of consumer protection.

Continue reading