The law provides a framework for certain commercial practices and prohibits others in order to protect consumers and to encourage effective competition between businesses.
The rules in force make sure that the consumer can make an informed choice.
Who is concernedEach professional is required to respect the legislation in matters of regulated/prohibited commercial practices.
How to proceed
The following practices are specifically regulated by law:
- electronic commerce;
- distance selling;
- discount sales;
- street sales (pavement sales, fairs, markets);
- door-to-door selling;
- itinerant sales on the streets and public squares;
- comparative advertising.
The following practices are prohibited by law:
- cartel arrangements;
- abuse of dominant position;
- unfair trading practices;
- misleading advertising;
- 'chain' or 'snowball' selling, also known as the pyramid scheme, or pyramid selling;
- display of goods in public;
Exceptions: exhibition stands and displays on fairs and markets, fashion shows, newspaper stands/booths.
- solicitation of orders (distance retail sale or wholesale) from consumers (via phone, email, etc.);
- 'inertia' selling: for all unsolicited goods sent to a consumer together with an invoice, the consumer is entitled to keep the goods without having to pay the supplier.
Beware of scams, it can happen to you!
A professional who does not comply with the regulations and prohibitions as stipulated by law runs the risk of:
- fines and penalties for violations of the law of 23 October 2011 on competition (on the initiative of the Competition Council);
- criminal prosecution (the complaint must be filed with the police or the public prosecutor);
- civil action and damages (writ of summons to be submitted to the court);
- prohibitory injunction (writ of summons to be submitted to the judge presiding the district court in charge of commercial matters and summary procedures);
Please note that any person (competitors or not, clients or private consumers) can take legal action. He/she does not have to be a direct victim of such a practice.
- administrative withdrawal of the business permit in cases of final or repeated conviction.