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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 label without permission to do so.
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 Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).
Unfair trading in business
Unfair trading can also take place in the business sector. A company may fail to fulfil its promises. Or you disagree with the way the company has executed the work.If you are unable to settle a dispute you can opt for arbitrage, a binding recommendation or mediation. You can also take your case to court. In some cases, you can report a company via the competition act for abusing its dominant position. If you have a complaint about another company, you can inform the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets via their tip off form.
Unfair trading practices outside the Netherlands
If 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 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.