ACM issues warning against holiday rental firm De Reisplanner
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has issued a warning against the business practices of holiday accommodation rental company De Reisplanner. This company contacts consumers over the phone, and offers them the opportunity to rent a luxurious villa abroad for two weeks within a 12-month period for EUR 149.99. In these calls and in the confirmation emails, which many consumers say they have not received at all, De Reisplanner does not clarify exactly what villas the offer encompasses, and how consumers are able to book them. After 14 days, consumers receive an invoice, and are put under pressure (over the phone, and in emails) to pay. Following questions from ACM, De Reisplanner has not made clear what villas are offered, and how the booking process works. That is why ACM advises consumers not to pay the invoices they have received.
At this point, ACM has officially not established any violations yet, but it does have a reasonable suspicion that, on several counts, the company behind De Reisplanner (which is NOPN B.V.) acts in violation of consumer protection law. When entering into any agreement, consumers must receive all of the information about the offer that is necessary for them to be able to make a well-informed decision. If a company fails to provide key information, consumers cannot be forced to pay.
Via its consumer information portal ConsuWijzer, ACM has been receiving many reports about De Reisplanner. ACM has asked NOPN B.V. to stop seeking payment of these invoices. The company did not respond to this request. However, it did say it has ceased its customer-recruitment activities. In order to prevent further harm to consumers, ACM has now issued a warning against the company. On www.consuwijzer.nl, consumers can find a sample letter (in Dutch) they can use to inform the company they will not pay their invoices.
ACM has also been receiving reports lately about other companies that appear to employ similar selling techniques. With regard to those companies, too, ACM advises consumers not to pay any invoices if they are insufficiently informed about the exact offer, and to send those companies an email.
Where and if necessary, ACM is ready to take further steps in order to stop these practices.