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CAFIA warns consumers against misleading business practices used within so-called direct marketing


The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) warns consumers against unfair business practices of certain companies using so-called “direct marketing”. Offering products (such as foods supplements) by means of press advertisements, Internet, e-mail, mail or phone is concerned.

In the past CAFIA noticed and still notices a certain amount of repeated suggestions for inspection from consumers saying that they have to pay for products which they did not order or they feel to be deceived by untrue statements in advertisements, quality of products or failures to provide promised benefits, e.g. prizes for previous orders.

CAFIA investigation of these suggestions confirmed that misleading business practices were used in several cases. For example, advertisement (in press, on the Internet) offers “voucher for a trial for free”, however, in fact consumers have to pay a part of the price of the goods and also “costs for dispatching”.

Within another kind of misleading practice, consumers are informed of winning a relatively high financial amount provided that they will order at least one product. However, they do not get the mentioned prize even though they comply with this condition.

In a range of cases, CAFIA proved violations categorized as misleading practices, non-compliant labelling of products or failure to comply with notification obligation, and initiated an administrative procedure on imposition of a fine with inspected persons.

CAFIA recommends that consumers are as cautious as possible when receiving phone calls aiming to business offers or directly to ordering products. It must be pointed out that according to the new Civil Code, it is possible to conclude a verbal agreement also by phone (verbal form of distance agreement), which happens very often in praxis even without becoming aware of this fact by customers. Moreover, during the short dialogue, customers often do not think of the consequences of the information which is provided were quickly and of the conditions of the order. Companies usually record the calls which serve then as evidences confirming the lawfulness of the order.

In general consumers are advised to be careful as regards business offers under suspiciously favourable circumstances and containing terms such as “free trial” of “for free”.

On the CAFIA websites, consumer can find information on safety and precautionary rules that should be kept during purchase via the Internet on during phone communication. Updated list of risk websites is also available here.

CAFIA will keep paying attention to monitoring and inspections of this specific form of sale in the same intensity.


Article by: Mgr. Pavel Kopřiva – CAFIA Spokesperson, phone.: +420 542 426 633