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ACM forces online retailer We Love Musthaves to stop violations

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has established that online retailer We Love Musthaves violates the rules, and has therefore imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments. By imposing the order, ACM forces the retailer to comply with the rules that protect consumers when making online purchases. The company must adjust its website in several key areas, and it must refund consumers if they invoke the cooling-off period or if the delivery was late. In addition, it must be easier for customers to reach the company. If the company fails to implement these improvements sufficiently (or fails to implement them at all), it must pay the penalty payments, up to a maximum of 20,000 euros. In 2019, ACM already reprimanded We Love Musthaves, which sells fashion items such as bathing suits and bikinis, after receiving complaints from consumers. Since the beginning of this year, ACM has once again received reports from consumers about this company.

Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, comments: “Consumers that make online purchases must be able to trust that online retailers comply with the rules. Those rules are meant to protect consumers. We take firm action against companies, such as, that still fail to comply with the rules despite previous warnings.”

Rules for online retailers

Consumers that shop online must be able to trust the information that online retailers provide about their products, prices, delivery times, and their return policies. In addition, online retailers must be reachable for questions or complaints. Consumers complained to ACM that failed to deliver products on time (or even failed to do so at all), failed to refund consumers in a timely manner (or failed to do so at all) it they wanted to cancel their purchases within the cooling-off period, and that the company was difficult to reach for questions or complaints.

That is why ACM has demanded these improvements:

  • Clear information about delivery times, and following through on these times;
  • If consumers cancel their purchases within the cooling-off period, and terminate their agreements, they must be refunded within 14 days. This also applies to products that were on sale or sold with a discount;
  • Refunds in the form of vouchers are only allowed if the consumer paid with a voucher;
  • Hygienic products can be returned, if their seals have not been opened or damaged;
  • The online retailer must ensure that consumers are able to contact the company through all contact options that are indicated, such as over the phone, email, or live chat.

The company has until October 30, 2020, to implement these adjustments. If it fails to do so on time (or fails to do so at all), We Love Musthaves must pay 2,000 euros per week up to a maximum of 20,000 euros.

A wide range of instruments

ACM has many different instruments at its disposal for solving consumer problems. When selecting the right approach, ACM puts consumers first. In this case, ACM chooses to impose an order subject to periodic penalty payments, because the company did not comply with the rules before, and has now slipped up again.

The digital economy

On ACM’s consumer information portal, ACM ConsuWijzer, consumers can find information about their rights regarding online purchases. With ACM ConsuWijzer’s checklist for safe shopping (Online Shopscan), consumers can assess the trustworthiness of online stores in advance. The digital economy is one of the topics on the 2020 ACM Agenda. Therefore, ACM will devote special attention to problems that consumers face online.

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