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Unfair trading practices

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

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Do you sell goods or provide services to consumers in the Netherlands? You are not allowed to use unfair trading practices. This applies to the:

  • promotion
  • sale
  • delivery

of products and services to customers.


Examples of unfair trading practices are:

  • offering 'incentives' which are not available when the customer gets to the store;
  • offering 'free' products for which customers ultimately have to pay;
  • quoting prices that do not include all additional charges or costs;
  • using a confidence or quality label or similar label without permission to do so;
  • misleading customers with fake reviews.
You can find more information in the Unfair Trading Practices Act (Wet oneerlijke handelspraktijken, in Dutch).

Fair trading practices

You must always act fairly if you sell products or services. In fair trade it is important that your customer has enough information and that he has enough time to take a decision on buying your product or service.

You can apply for a certificate or qualification mark. Check whether your sector association uses a code of conduct, oath or vow.


If you violate the rules, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) can impose a fine of up to €900,000. If it concerns financial products or services, fines may be imposed by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).

Unfair trading in business

Unfair trading can also take place in the business sector. Does a company fail to fulfil its promises? Or do you disagree with the way the company has executed the work? Discuss this with the other party before you take further action.

Are you unable to settle a dispute? There are several options:

Unfair trading practices outside the Netherlands

Do you have to deal with obstacles as a result of incorrectly applied European rules by governmental entities? You can make a complaint to the SOLVIT Centre.

Unfair trading practices outside the European Union

Do you encounter unfair trading practices outside the European Union? You can report this to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by email.

Unfair competition by the government

The government sometimes offers goods or services on the market. In order to prevent unfair competition here, they must follow rules of conduct. If you believe they do not abide by these rules, you can file a complaint with the responsible government organisation. You may also file your complaint with ACM. They may conduct an investigation into the alleged unfair competition. If it shows the government organisation breaking the law, ACM may impose a penalty.

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO