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Misleading Directory Companies: EP's Petitions Committee backs MEP Simon Busuttil

Date

07 Feb 2011

Sections

Health & Consumers

"We need to change European legislation to cut the fraudulent industry of Misleading Directory Companies from its roots"; MEP Busuttil stated earlier this week, during a Petitions Committee follow-up session of the 2009 Busuttil report on Misleading Business Directories.

 

"Vulnerable organisations, small businesses and professionals need our protection from the misleading practices of certain directory companies" Busuttil said. "We must show them that European Law is there for everyone to follow and respect. According to EU Law such fraudulent practices must not be tolerated".

 

Busuttil publicly named the European City Guide, Construct Data, Novachannel, EU Business Services, Intercable, EXPO guide and DAD as some of the companies involved in such fraudulent practices.

 

These companies send out forms that ask recipients to simply update their details free of charge for a listing in their directory publication. However what victims fail to recognize is the very small print at the bottom of the page which declares that signing such a form engages the individual into a three year contract involving an annual payment of EUR1000 per year. "Speaking of victims, even MEPs have received these forms. This industry truly has no shame!" Busuttil told the Petitions Committee.

 

The European Commission confirmed that such practices are already against EU law. Nonetheless the cross-border dimension of this fraud makes it very difficult for the victims to pursue the fraudsters. According to Busuttil this creates a situation whereby "citizens do not have the adequate tools in this respect to enforce their rights."

 

Busuttil asked the Commission to step up its action in finding not just a legal, but a practical solution to the problem. "Too many people are still ending up victims of this scam. Too many people are being harassed every day by legal letters from these companies"

 

The Commission will be reviewing the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive by the end of the year with a view to analyzing all possible options to protect business in Europe, including the possible insertion of a specific provision to prevent the fraudulent practices of Misleading Business Directories. The Commission also pledged to consider enforcement cooperation tools that would be aimed at solving the problem of cross-border enforcement.

 

The Petitions Committee discussed the issue of Misleading Business Directories during the morning sitting of the 1 February 2011. Footage of this Committee Session can be found on the European Parliament website.

 

Photos can be found here and here.

 

For further information:

Simon BUSUTTIL MEP, Tel: +32-2-2847686

David Stellini, EPP Group Press and Communications Service, Tel: +32-473-541926

 

Notes to Editors:

The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.

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