Act on Market Practices and
The new Act on Market Practices and Consumer Protection has been published and came into force on 12 may 2010. This act replaces the Trade Practices Act of 14 July 1991.
The most important innovations of this new law are
briefly discussed below:
1. The new act gives new definitions on enterprise,
consumer and product with important consequences.
2. Price reductions
The condition that the seller must have
continuously applied the same higher price during the month prior to the price reduction has been
abolished. If a seller applied
different prices during the month prior to the price reduction, this no longer
prevents the seller from announcing a price reduction. However, in such a case, the seller
must always refer to the lowest prices applied for the product during the month
prior to the reduction of the price.
Furthermore a seller is free to announce a price reduction in the manner
he likes, only the announcement may not be misleading and the buyer must be
informed of the old price or able to easily calculate the old price.
3. Seasonal sales
Sales of all kind of products are authorized.
The waiting period is only mandatory for clothing, shoes and leather products
and it will be shorter.
The requirement that a seasonal sale must take
place in a physical premise has been abolished. From now on seasonal sales can be held on the Internet.
4. Distance selling
The prohibition to request a payment prior to the
end of the cancellation period is abolished. This cancellation period is extended from 7 into 14 days.
Whereas the Trade Practices Act of 14 July 1991
provided for a general prohibition of combined offers, the new act expressly
allows such orders. Only combined
offers which constitute an unfair commercial practice are prohibited. However,
the prohibition of combined offers remains in force for financial services.
The European Court of Justice had condemned the Belgian prohibition of combined
offers because it was contrary to the European directive 2005/29/EC concerning
unfair business to consumer commercial practices in the internal market.
of selling at a loss.
The prohibition of selling at loss remains in
force, but the prohibition of selling with an extremely limited profit margin
act introduces a prohibition of opt-out options for internet-sales.
Labelling information required by law, user
instructions and commercial warranties no longer need to be in the languages of
the regions where the goods or services are sold to the consumer.
12 May 2010
Ann Vranken - email@example.com
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