Unfair commercial practices

The Directive on unfair commercial practices defines the commercial practices which are prohibited in the European Union (EU). It thus protects the economic interests of consumers before, during and after a commercial transaction has taken place. It has been implemented into Icelandic law with Act No. 57/2005.

Unfair commercial practices are those which:

  • do not comply with the requirements of professional diligence ;
  • are likely to materially distort the economic behaviour of the average consumer .

The Directive defines two specific categories of unfair commercial practices: misleading practices (by action or omission) and aggressive practices.

A practice is misleading if it contains false or untrue information or is likely to deceive the average consumer, even though the information given may be correct, and is likely to cause him to take a transactional decision he would not have taken otherwise. Examples of such actions include false or deceiving information on:

  • the existence or nature of the product;
  • the main characteristics of the product (its availability, benefits, risks, composition, geographical origin, results to be expected from its use, etc.);
  • the extent of the trader's commitments;
  • the price or the existence of a specific price advantage;
  • the need for a service, or repair.

Consumers’ transactional decisions must be made freely. They cannot be taken following the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence .

Several elements must be taken into consideration in order to determine whether an aggressive commercial practice occurs. These include:

  • the nature, location and duration of the aggressive practice;
  • the possible use of threatening or abusive language or behaviour;
  • the exploitation by the trader of any specific circumstance affecting the consumer in order to influence his/her decision;
  • any disproportionate non-contractual conditions imposed on the consumer who wishes to exercise his/her contractual rights (such as to terminate or switch a contract).

Related News

An overview of the Ruling Committee in...

The Ruling Committee in Travel Industry Matters is a joint project of the Consumers’ Association (NS) and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (SAF). Among SAF’s members are airlines, travel agencies, car rentals, hotels, restaurants and recreational service providers. The committee operates in accordance with an agreement between these two parties and rules on consumer disputes with members of SAF.


Internet lotteries - SCAMS or just good...

ECC-Iceland gets a lot of information requests from people who claim to have won the lottery! That is they have received an announcement on e-mail, or via a text message to their mobile, about their winnings - which can be up to 1 million EUR or even more! However, people should be careful regarding these lotteries as generally they are illegal scams. After replying to those e-mails you are asked to give a lot of personal info, and then you most likely need to send some money, for banking costs, taxes or something of the sort.


European City Guide and other scams

ECC-Iceland receives a few complaints every year from companies that have registered with databases such as Euro Business Guide, European City Guide and World Business Guide, which appear to be scams. The companies receive a contract where they are asked to register – seemingly for free – to appear in the database and/or books/booklets. After they have signed the contract they receive a bill for approximately 1000 Euros – which is said to be the annual fee. Upon closer inspection the fee appears in the contract in very fine and illegible print.