The die is cast: European advertising law is going to change. Amendments to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive were approved by the European Council on 8 November 2019.

A few changes in a row:

  • There will be specific rules for online deception. For example, online platforms such as eBay should inform consumers whether the seller is a trader or not. There will also be stricter rules on the posting of user reviews and comparison sites will have to inform the consumer how the result of the product comparison is achieved.
  • There will also be new rules for the marketing of dual quality products: products of the same brand and with the same packaging, but with a different quality in Member States. Under certain circumstances, this is misleading. This is an important change, especially for companies that export products to Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Member States must be able to impose high fines for offences committed by companies in several Member States. In such cases, the maximum fine must be at least 4% of the company's annual turnover. Moreover, Member States do not always have to align fines with the annual turnover. 

 Now that legislation has been adopted at EU level, the ball is in the court of the Member States. They must implement the new rules in national legislation within two years. In the Netherlands, the Civil Code will be amended and it is expected that the Dutch Advertising Code will also be amended.

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