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Consumer Authority fines Tele2 for telephone canvassing

The Consumer Authority has issued fines to Tele2 Nederland B.V. totalling EUR 70,000 for the way in which the company effected landline subscriptions by telephone in 2007 and 2008. The calls were made to consumers who were already customers of Tele2 for their call charges (via Carrier Preselect).

Background to the decision

From January 2008 to March 2008, Tele2 used external call centres, which contacted existing customers on a large scale, offering them the chance to sign up to a landline subscription. Owing to the number of reports received by the Consumer Authority through various channels, including via ConsuWijzer, it began an investigation.

The sale of landline subscriptions to consumers over the telephone is governed by the statutory rules pertaining to distance purchasing. These rules also apply if the consumer that is being approached already holds a subscription with the seller. The investigation led the Consumer Authority to the conclusion that Tele2 did not make it clear at the beginning of the telephone call that it was calling with the intention of making an offer for a landline subscription. In addition, the consumer was not always sufficiently informed during the telephone call of the costs of the landline subscription, the payment method, the minimum term of the agreement or the cooling off period. Tele2 also failed to correctly state the cooling off period in the confirmation letter received by the consumer at a later date. This placed severe restrictions on the rights of the consumer. In view of these violations, fines have been issued totalling EUR 70,000.

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. These rules serve to protect consumers so that they can base their purchase decisions on correct and complete information. Reports received by ConsuWijzer indicate that these rules are not being observed by all companies, and for this reason, telemarketing is on the agenda for the Consumer Authority in 2009."

In the meantime, the company has launched an appeal against the decision by the Consumer Authority.