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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:
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.
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:
- You can opt for alternative dispute resolution: arbitration, binding advice and mediation.
- You can take your case to court.
- In some cases, you can report a company for abusing its dominant position (Dutch Competition Act). You can inform ACM if this via their tip off form.
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
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.