From this Saturday, May 28, France is tightening sanctions against deceptive commercial practices. Misleading price reductions, false opinions, unsolicited canvassing, home visits, false promotions on the internet… from this Saturday, May 28, the situation changes. France has just implemented a European directive aimed at better regulating certain commercial practices, its name: “Omnibus”. It had already been transposed by an ordinance in December 2021 but comes into force now. Through this new law, consumer protection is thus reinforced by the toughening of existing penalties and the application of new ones. What changes? Among the planned measures, the regulations now require e-commerce sites to set up a system guaranteeing the authenticity of the reviews published under the product pages. Companies, even if they are not French, must guarantee that the reviews have been published by people who have purchased the item in question. False promotions are also in the sights of the law. A seller will no longer be able to artificially inflate the starting price of an item in order to display a greater reduction. Selling a television for 400€ instead of 1000€, to display a nice -60%, while this one was at 600€ a few days before, will now be prohibited. The sale price must correspond to “the lowest price charged by the professional for all consumers over the last thirty days”, according to the order of December 23, 2021. Offenders incur up to 300,000 euros in damages. fines and 2 years imprisonment. Already in 2019, the DGCCRF had pinned several websites, including vente-privée.com, on this widespread deception. The new directive also plans to tackle unsolicited door-to-door sales. Door-to-door sellers will no longer be able to canvass if the consumer “has clearly and unambiguously expressed that he does not want to be the subject of such a visit”. In the event of a breach, the seller is liable to one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros. Reinforced penalties In addition to these novelties, the directive also raises the amount of the penalties that already exist. In the event of breach of certain legal information obligations, such as those mentioned above, or in the event of abusive clauses in the contracts, the sellers are exposed to fines of up to 4% of the turnover of the society. “These penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive”, further indicates the directive.
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