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Consumer Authority begins information campaign concerning misleading telemarketing

Every year, almost 1 in 4 persons in the Netherlands have to deal with aggressive and misleading telephone sales. A recent study conducted by the Consumer Authority into unfair commercial practices revealed that over 800,000 people aged 18 years and above suffer an average loss of 121 euros per year. This is why the Consumer Authority has begun an information campaign today via ConsuWijzer, the government's information desk for consumers. ConsuWijzer is providing information and the ConsuWijzer Tele-Checklist in order to prevent people from making purchases that they later regret.

Do the ConsuWijzer Tele-Check

Every year, many consumers take up offers made by means of telephone sales that they later come to regret. On the ConsuWijzer website, under the motto 'Misleading sales calls? Here's how to deal with them!', you will find a new special issue relating to: How do you respond properly to sales calls? What are your telemarketing rights? How can you cancel an unwanted purchase? The campaign focuses, in particular, on older people and their surroundings, as older people are often extra vulnerable to misleading telemarketing.

Consumers can request a copy of the ConsuWijzer Tele-Checklist via the website or by calling +31 (0)88 0707070, and should keep it next to their telephone. This checklist consists of a number of questions to which the consumer must obtain a clear answer before he/she can decide whether the offer is of interest to him, such as: Who exactly is calling me and what is he offering? What does it cost? Does this amount include all expenses? For how long am I committed to this?

Consumer Authority's focus: Telemarketing

Telemarketing is one of the Consumer Authority's priorities during 2009. In addition to informing consumers about their rights, the Consumer Authority is also able to take action against companies that use misleading or aggressive telemarketing. Marije Hulshof, Director of the Consumer Authority, explains: "Strict rules apply when making unsolicited calls to consumers to make an offer and companies must abide by these rules. We provide consumers with information via ConsuWijzer, and as an enforcement authority, we are able to take enforcement action. This combination strengthens the consumer's position."

The Consumer Authority is holding this campaign in the context of 'Fraud Prevention Month', an initiative of ICPEN, the international network of consumer enforcement authorities, the aim of which is to draw attention to misleading practices to consumers throughout the world.