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If you sell goods or provide services to consumers in the Netherlands, you are not allowed to use unfair trading practices. These practices include:
- 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 without permission to do so
If you violate the rules, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) can impose a fine of up to €450,000. If it concerns financial products or services, fines may be imposed by the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).
Unfair trading practices outside the Netherlands
If you encounter unfair trading practices outside the Netherlands, you can report this to the Trade Barriers Hotline (Meldpunt Handelsbelemmeringen) (Dutch). If you have to deal with obstacles as a result of incorrectly applied European rules by governmental entities, you can make a complaint at the SOLVIT Centre Nederland.
Unfair competition by the government
The government sometimes offers goods or services on the market. In order to prevent unfair competition here, they must abide by rules of conduct. If you believe they do not abide by these rules, you can first 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.