Short Sale time -Euro Law Prohibits

11 replies
It has just come to my attention that a new directive aimed at European including UK consumers of on and offline short sale time could face criminal prosecution.

The consumers could be allowed to take out a criminal prosectution against businesses that "rip them off" under the proposed changes to the Unfair Commercial Practices (UCP) directive.

European Parliament has adopted a resolution by demanding countries that have implemented the UCP allow buyers to seek direct action rather than relying on an government to act on their behalf.

The UCP directive has been implemented in the UK as part of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs), in the UK it states to prohibit misleading or aggressive commercial practices. There are also practices that have been made a criminial offense (

So what does all that mean well in short it means that countries who have adopted the UCP are required to state to companies that a company cannot falsely say that a product will only be available for a short time to elicit an immediate sale or to make persistant solictations by phone, fax or email.

Businesses could face a fine up-to £5000 if found guilty or a conviction of upto 2 years in prison. Criminal prosecutions could be brought by the Office of Fair Trading, Local Authority Trading Standards.

According to my understanding websites offering a discount on a countdown would be subject to this UCP if a consumer reports it to the local authority, unless it can be proved that the sale is for a genuine reason.

Only countries in the EU who have adopted the UCP under European Law are affected, sources from European Parliament

Any comments are welcomed just thought I would share this info I have just come across.

Regards Roger
#euro #europe #law #prohibits #sale #short #time #trading standards #ucp #united kingdom
  • Profile picture of the author Bigsofty
    It also seems to ban the use of offering anything for free if in order to get the free thing you have to buy something.

    So much for bonuses etc.

    Damn socialist morons.


    This man is living his dream. Are you...?

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  • Profile picture of the author Steadyon
    They will need to employ another 100,000 bureaucrats to even monitor this. Perhaps this is their bright idea to create some jobs.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Reno
    very interesting indeed - that's a whole can of worms there - especially the "free items" clause...yea good luck to those on that side of the pond!
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    • Profile picture of the author artwebster
      As with so much in Commercial law, much of this, if it ever came to court, would rely upon precedents.

      Although specific instances are quoted, there is a natural movement within the EU to credit people with so much 'personal freedom' that I think the effects of this law would be very diluted by the accusation of restricting the personal freedoms of the trader.

      If a murderer can be granted legal aid to sue his victim's family and law enforcement agencies because his personal freedoms have been curtailed, I don't see that a trader would have much trouble.

      I see this as yet another ploy to reduce unemployment figures and add another level to the empires of the worthless worthies that manage to get themselves onto the EU gravy train.

      In reality, it would be very difficult to prove a case either way since they would take so long to get to court.

      You might not like what I say - but I believe it.
      Build it, make money, then build some more
      Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

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    • Profile picture of the author reddy2011
      Originally Posted by Ken Reno View Post

      very interesting indeed - that's a whole can of worms there - especially the "free items" clause...yea good luck to those on that side of the pond!

      Yeah. but those who are other side they can experience reality.
      Mobiles and Technology !!!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bigsofty
    I also notice it's not just being available for a short time but the TERMS being available for a short time, which wipes out the other 1/3 of marketing...



    This man is living his dream. Are you...?

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  • Profile picture of the author scoobywow
    Granted it states IF the court deems the practice as unfair, it depends on whether a complaint is made and if a buy-now factor is the main reason to encourage a sale.

    Internet marketing practices generally have a freebe or bonus to encourage the sale and to make the purchase more appealing - or - offering a period of time before a price rises or not.

    On the one-hand if you stick to a price rise when you say it is I would think you would be ok under this piece of legislation but it is whether the court decide it is an unfair practice maybe the problem.

    If your offering a higher perceived value product as a bonus and it can be proved by the court that was the reason for a sale then it becomes an eternal thick soup, it is based on one persons word versus another, however that seems to occur alot already in the court system.

    It becomes down to how we deal with this to ensure we don't ever fall into the "unfair practice" cliche, surely!

    Regards Roger
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Time to set up an office and company in the US. You can do so quite cheaply.

    Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

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  • Profile picture of the author tonydebree
    Well, Roger. Interesting developments for sure. I have been actively involved through my roles in large Banks in defining European Legislation around eCommerce and eBusiness and consumer protection.

    In this case I have not come across the Dutch Translation of this Directive yet. As we are always first, I will check .

    However, I must admit that I have been rather surprised by what is allowed on U.S. based sites in the last 10 years of my online freelancing activities. In a lot of European countries that would be considered misleading information to consumers.

    Some examples: saying to people you only sell 25 copies and then it's over and then actually selling an illimited number. Or all the sites that promise you "easy money", "100.000 dollars in two weeks" etc. If I would do that on Dutch-based sites, I would be in court immediately. Or selling flipped products without telling people they are flipped etc etc.

    In any case, enforcement seems to be a difficult thing as always. But it might be that they will go after some of the big guys.

    Anyway, I am curious to hear of any cases going to court in the U.K. And I will try to find out more about this in The Netherlands.

    Kind regards,
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      I don't see what the fuss is about.

      2.2 The UCPD aims to harmonise the legislation about unfair business to consumer practices across the European Community to support growth of the internal (European) market. Uniform law about unfair commercial practices will make it easier for traders based in one Member State to market and sell their products to consumers in other Member States. It will also give consumers greater confidence to shop in the UK, and across borders, by providing a high common standard of consumer
      Sounds good.

      Broadly speaking, if consumers are treated fairly, then traders are likely to comply with the CPRs. This means that fair-dealing businesses should not have to make major changes to their practices. However, if a trader misleads, behaves aggressively, or otherwise acts unfairly towards
      consumers, then the trader is likely to be in breach of the CPRs and may
      face action by enforcement authorities.
      So, if you are honest and fair, no problem. If you cheat, mislead or badger people you're in trouble.

      This document is also written in good, clear English with excellent examples of the practices it wants to eliminate.

      Anybody who is unhappy with this I would definitely not want to do business with.

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  • Profile picture of the author scoobywow
    Theories behind the legislation is great, the problem as always with law is the interpretation, as a general thumb I'm not worried about the guidelines.

    The main thing on my mind is whether a court interprets a particular sales technique as "unfair" or not - how can you prove an online practice is fair?

    You may argue to say how can you prove it is unfair or fair? The thing is this particular legislation can be interpreted in a number of different ways, and is definitely appropriate, as generally any room for give in any well structured english, can and most likely will be used by the council within a court room.

    As all law as quite rightly pointed out above requires additional guidance using cases that have come before in order to make any 'slip-holes' or give in the guidelines more clear. However, the main reason for my concern isn't the practices I am currently operating but whether any practice maybe classed as 'unfair' and whether I am able to prove it.

    The guidelines are only clear to the reader as they interpret them!

    Regards Roger
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