E-Reputation Law - a case study on e-reputation

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E-Reputation Law

E-communication cannot be aggressive

If it is reasonably mindful of its e-reputation, a company will normally be careful not to be aggressive towards consumers, as aggressive behaviour will generally offend the consumer and therefore have a negative impact on the company’s e-reputation. However, some practices that a company would not usually see as aggressive can be deemed to be so under the AMPC.

Pursuant to Article 92 of the AMPC, ‘[a] commercial practice shall be regarded as aggressive if, in its factual context, taking account of all its features and circumstances, by harassment, coercion, including the use of physical force, or undue influence, it significantly impairs or is likely to significantly impair the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct with regard to the product and thereby causes him or is likely to cause him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise’  [Note: English version of Directive 2005/29/EC.
French text: "Une pratique commerciale est réputée agressive si, dans son contexte factuel, compte tenu de toutes ses caractéristiques et des circonstances, elle altère ou est susceptible d’altérer de manière significative, du fait du harcèlement, de la contrainte, y compris le recours à la force physique, ou d’une influence injustifiée, la liberté de choix ou de conduite du consommateur moyen à l’égard du produit et, par conséquent, l’amène ou est susceptible de l’amener à prendre une décision commerciale qu’il n’aurait pas prise autrement."
Dutch text: "Als agressief wordt beschouwd een handelspraktijk jegens consumenten die, in haar feitelijke context, al haar kenmerken en omstandigheden in aanmerking genomen, door intimidatie, dwang, inclusief het gebruik van lichamelijk geweld, of ongepaste beïnvloeding, de keuzevrijheid of de vrijheid van handelen van de gemiddelde consument met betrekking tot het product aanzienlijk beperkt of kan beperken, waardoor hij ertoe wordt gebracht of kan worden gebracht over een transactie een besluit te nemen dat hij anders niet had genomen."]

Among the examples of practices that are in all circumstances considered aggressive  [Note: See full list in Article 94 of the AMPC.], Article 94(5) of the AMPC mentions the act of ‘[i]ncluding in an advertisement a direct exhortation to children to buy advertised products or persuade their parents or other adults to buy advertised products for them’  [Note: English version of Directive 2005/29/EC.
French text: "dans une publicité, inciter directement les enfants à acheter ou à persuader leurs parents ou d’autres adultes de leur acheter le produit faisant l’objet de la publicité."
Dutch text: "kinderen er in reclame rechtstreeks toe aanzetten om geadverteerde producten te kopen of om hun ouders of andere volwassenen ertoe over te halen die producten voor hen te kopen."]

We will later examine the issue of e-communication to minors in further detail.