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ACM fines online store for having unclear information on its website

24-10-2019

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has imposed a fine on www.boomfietsen.nl, which, until May 2019, had been an online store selling bicycles. ACM has fined this company for informing its customers incorrectly. They received insufficient information about how to cancel their purchases and about the costs for returning their purchases. Also, it was not clear at what point in the process exactly consumers assumed a purchase obligation. ACM thus imposed a fine of 50,000 euros for these irregularities.

Cateautje Hijmans van den Bergh, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “Online stores are required to provide their customers with complete and correct information about their rights when making online purchases such as bicycles. With that information, they will know what to expect when cancelling or returning their purchases. That is why such information is essential for the confidence of consumers who make online purchases.”

Clear information for customers

Online stores are subject to strict rules on how to inform customers about their products, prices, and how purchase agreements are actually concluded. After all, consumers can only use the information on the website when ordering from the online store. ACM has received various complaints about the website www.boomfietsen.nl. The online store did not inform its customers properly or clearly about how they could cancel their purchases during the statutory cooling-off period. In addition, the website was not clear about the costs for returning the bicycles, which consumers had to pay. Furthermore, it was not clearly indicated that consumers assumed a purchase obligation the moment they pressed ‘place order’ on the website.

The owner of Boomfietsen had previously run online stores selling bicycles such as Bikedepot.nl, Actie-fiets.nl and Onze-fiets.nl. He adjusted these websites following interventions of ACM. So he was aware of the rules when he launched the website Boomfietsen.nl.