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EU law to change to guard against 'predatory' directory ad scams

Small business owner are targeted by companies presenting misleading ad contracts and charging up to €5k a year.

Image: GDubbed via Shutterstock

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION today announced that EU law will be changed in order to protect businesses from falling prey to “predatory” directory scammers.

Labour MEP for Munster Phil Prendergast said that she had knowledge of small business owners incurring “serious losses or suffer unrelenting harrassment when they resist to pay for such scams”.

She explained that the business owners are offered free entries of their company’s name and details in business directories. It turns out that the forms they are given by some scammers are, in fact, “misleading contract forms” which binds the business owner to paying up to €5,000 a year to advertise in the directories. She said:

Once they lure companies into signing such contracts, scammers aggressively pursue their unwitting clients for extortionate payments in exchange for a negligible or even bogus service. I have been in contact with constituents who have been harrassed, literally, for years.

The EC today committed to amending the Misleading and Comparative Advertising Directive to include this section of fraudsters, although it will take “some time”, conceded Prendergast, for the change to come into law.

Read: Crime costs for small businesses increasing – survey>

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