The Office of Fair Trading has used cross-border powers for the first time, to raise an action in Holland against a Dutch mail order company. The OFT sent a legal team to the court on 10th October, alleging that Best Sales BV, trading as Best Of and Oliveal, has breached the EC’s Misleading Advertising Directive.
According to the OFT, the Dutch companies are using mailings which purport to be prize-winning notifications, but which require the recipients to order items before being able to claim the promised prize. The OFT has already obtained undertakings from directors of the Dutch company that they would no longer send misleading mailings to British customers, but the mailings have continued.
“The mailings suggest that the British customer has a large win, but in fact, they have to make a purchase,” an OFT spokeswoman told CEB. “There have been British respondents to the mailings, and tragically, it’s always the old and trusting people who do so. We believe that at best they are being entered into a prize draw, and some have received a £1 discount voucher against future orders.
A recent press report elsewhere has suggested that similar operators working from France and Belgium have put a million mailings a month into Britain, producing an alleged 4,000 orders a day in return.