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
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.
5. Combined offers
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.
6. Prohibition 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 is
7. The act introduces a prohibition of opt-out options for
8. Use of languages
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.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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