Buying telecom services online: Commission and consumer protection authorities reveal misleading practices

Today, the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities published the results of an EU-wide screening of 207 websites offering fixed/mobile phone, internet, audio and video streaming services.

The screening reveals that 163 of these websites could be infringing EU consumer law. Some of the most common issues identified are the advertisement of allegedly free or discounted packages that are in fact a bundled offer, the lack of a dispute resolution system, or the fact that these websites can unilaterally change the terms of the contract without information or justification to the consumer. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Consumers use their mobile phone or internet subscriptions every day and should be able to trust these services. This screening confirms, however, that a number of websites selling such services are misleading consumers by advertising fake discounts or not providing the full information necessary to make an informed choice. I expect the false and misleading information to be corrected as soon as possible to ensure the sector fully respects EU consumer rules.” The Commission has recently proposed a New Deal for Consumers which will further strengthen consumer’s hands towards traders using unfair commercial practices and reinforce the enforcement of EU consumer rules by authorities. A press release and a Q&A are available online.