As we have previously reported, the Omnibus Directive (EU 2019/2161), among other things, tightens the rules on the announcement of price reductions, but also regulates the provision of digital services and digital platforms.
This directive was already to be transposed on 28 November 2021 but was to enter into force on 28 May 2022 in any case. Due to this late transposition, which has now been approved by Parliament and will soon be published in the Belgian Official Gazette, Belgium should just barely meet the deadline for entry into force.
Rules on discounts
From the next sales period onwards, it will be compulsory to indicate a clear reference price. The reference price to be mentioned is the lowest price offered by the company during a period of at least thirty days prior to the price reduction (and therefore also the sales period), thereby increasing transparency for the consumer and reducing the possibility of misleading and fraudulent practices.
For products that have been on the market for less than 30 days, the previous price is the lowest price applied by
company during a period not less than seven days before the application of the price reduction.
However, the Belgian legislator leaves open the optional possibility, provided for by the Directive, of gradually increasing a reduction percentage. An exception is provided for periods of progressive increase in the discount rate during an uninterrupted period that may not exceed thirty days. In this case, the company does not have to adjust the reference price each time the discount is increased, but may keep the initial reference price as determined before the application of the first price reduction.
The transposition of the Directive ensures greater transparency in the provision of digital services and platforms.
The use of (paid) third parties to provide (false) ratings for a product or service is prohibited, and it must be ensured that consumer ratings can only come from consumers who have actually paid for the product or service. The provider must also clearly indicate whether all consumer reviews are displayed and not only the positive reviews, for example. If a product achieves a certain ranking when searching for this product online, but this ranking is only obtained on the basis of a paid advertisement, this must be clearly indicated.
We refer to our previous contribution on this subject.
You should therefore check whether your price policy still complies with the stricter rules on reference prices.