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14 Feb 2017
Deals and discount sites: don’t fall for the hard sell

Fraud Help Desk and Dutch consumer watchdog Consuwijzer regularly receive reports about aggressive selling tactics by phone involving subscriptions to discount or deals websites. More and more companies use this predatory method to put consumers under pressure.

How does it work? Consumers are cold-called by salespeople who make them a very tempting offer: how about getting access to a website where you can get substantial online discounts or cashbacks on purchases from retailers? The only thing you need to do is to create an account and subscribe to the services of these discount websites. However, the costs involved remain unclear.

The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a campaign to warn against these practices. Consumers don’t need to pay anything at all if they have accepted the offer on the phone. Not even if this ‘agreement’ has been recording at the end of the call. Call recording is not enough to make a contract legally binding. And neither is a one-off payment. Under Dutch law, a contract is only valid if the consumer has agreed to the offer in writing; no agreement is valid without a signature.

Our advice
Remember that you don’t have to pay anything as long as you haven’t signed a written agreement. Don’t be fooled when collection agencies threaten legal action. If this should happen to you, please visit the ConsuWijzer website for more information on what to do.

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