ACM: website is not permitted to pre-tick boxes
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has sat down with New Retail Company, the company behind the website PlatteTV.nl, for pre-ticking a box. The company automatically added a paid service package of 65 euros to consumers’ shopping carts when buying TVs online. The option was pre-selected, and that is not permitted. Consumers must actively make that decision themselves. After ACM had reprimanded the company, it adjusted its ordering process, and turned off the pre-ticked box. The company also promised ACM that it would compensate consumers that felt misled by this process.
Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, explains: ‘It is important that consumers can make their own decisions online. That is why there are rules that protect consumers. Boxes that are pre-ticked by default are not in the consumer’s best interest. That is why we take action against such practices.’
The digital economy
The digital economy is a topic on ACM’s Agenda in 2021. This means that ACM will devote special attention to the problems that consumers experience online, such as online persuasion. In 2020, ACM published its guidelines on the protection of the online consumer in which it defines the point where persuasion turns into deception. These guidelines provide the basis for ACM’s oversight in 2021 of misleading practices online. Tip-offs from consumers help ACM see what companies do not follow the rules.
Swift approach to consumer problems
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 prefers to sit down with the company in order to put an immediate stop to the misleading practices, and to compensate consumers affected by them. On the basis of reports filed with ACM ConsuWijzer, ACM will keep a close watch on whether the company actually implements the agreed upon adjustments, and whether it keeps its promise of compensating consumers that felt misled.