Consumer Authority fines Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent
The Consumer Authority has fined Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent 110,000 euro each. The companies will also be liable to an incremental penalty payment of 5000 euro per day, up to a maximum of 200,000 euro. By taking this measure, the Consumer Authority aims to compel Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent to abide by the general terms and conditions relating to payment and deposits of the Central Trade Association for the Home Furnishings Industry (Centrale Branchevereniging Wonen - abbreviated to CBW), to which the companies are also affiliated. Stores affiliated to the CBW carry the CBW logo and are required to abide by the CBW's terms and conditions.
Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent are acting in breach of the CBW's terms and conditions, which state that a maximum deposit of 15% may be requested when purchasing a kitchen. The consumer may pay the remainder of the purchase price upon delivery of the kitchen. This 15 % comes under the CBW warranty scheme, which means that if the store becomes insolvent the consumer may conclude a replacement agreement with another CBW-recognised store without having to make a new payment.
However, Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent demanded full payment of the kitchen 12 to 5 days before delivery, which meant that the consumer ran a financial risk. If the companies fall into financial difficulties between the payment of the total purchase price and delivery, the consumer will lose 85% of the purchase price paid. Requiring full payment 12 to 5 days before the kitchen is delivered is also contrary to the DBW condition that payment only needs to be made at the time of delivery.
CBW terms and conditions
The general terms and conditions of the CBW have been drawn up in consultation with the Consumers' Association. This is even stated in the heading to the terms and conditions, in order to create consumer confidence. The Consumer Authority therefore regards it as a serious offence if companies who claim to subscribe to the CBW's terms and conditions do not abide by them. According to the law this is unfair commercial practice.
Keukenkampioen and Keukenconcurrent have promised to modify the standard order forms on the matter of payment. They have however lodged an objection to the decision by the Consumer Authority, because they do not agree in principle with the Consumer Authority's interpretation of the CBW's terms and conditions.