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Trade / E-commerce

Deceptive promotions, false notices, unfair selling: toughening of sanctions

Publié le 02 juin 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Crédits : © Andrey Popov -

Since 28 May 2022, the European Directive Omnibus has entered into force. Transposed into French law, this directive tightens the penalties applicable to misleading promotions, false notices and abusive door-to-door lobbying. The aim is to strengthen consumer protection.

The EU directive, whose rules came into force on 28 May 2022, addresses three business practices: door-to-door canvassing, internet notices and promotions.

This directive was transposed into French law by the enabling legislation « DADDUE » of 3 December 2020 and Ordinance No. 2021-1734 of 22 December 2021. It punishes more heavily misleading promotions, false notices and abusive door-to-door lobbying in order to improve the protection of consumers, especially those who use digital platforms or market places.

Home Office: need for agreement

Unsolicited visits by a trader who wishes to sell a product or provide a service to a consumer are now prohibited once the consumer has made known « clearly and unambiguously » that he didn't want to be bothered.

Sellers who fail to comply with this new provision may be sentenced to one year's imprisonment and a fine of €150,000.

False Prohibited Notices

The commercial practice of issuing false opinions on the Internet or altering real opinions is now deemed unfair.

This European directive thus requires the seller to check the reliability of the notice in question. The trader will therefore have to check and guarantee that the consumer giving his opinion actually bought his product or used his service.

Professionals are liable to two years' imprisonment and a fine of €300,000 if this provision is violated.

More regulated price reductions

Since the aim of the European directive is to protect consumers, false promotions are now prohibited. The seller must therefore indicate the price of the product before applying a discount. This earlier price must be the lowest price charged by the seller in the last 30 days before the discount. In the case of successive price reductions, the earlier price displayed must be that applied before the first reduction was applied. This applies to all price reduction announcements, whether they are made online or in stores.

This unfair commercial practice can be punished with two years' imprisonment and a fine of €300,000.

DGCCRF will monitor compliance with these new rules, particularly in price reduction transactions such as sales or "Black Friday".

  Please note : This provision does not apply to « perishable products threatened with rapid deterioration ».

Heavier fines

The order and the directive impose more severe penalties for the use of unfair terms which create an imbalance between the consumer and the trader.

Thus, the maximum fine for this type of case is:

  • €15,000 for a natural person (instead of €3,000);
  • 75 000 € for a legal person (instead of 15 000 €).

In addition, where the infringement found is said to be « large scale or large scale at EU level », the fine may be up to 4 % of the business' average annual turnover (calculated from the last three known annual turnover figures).


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