Martijn van de Hel en Marianne Meijssen successfully represented an online fashion store during appeal proceedings against a fine imposed by the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (“ACM”) for an infringement of consumer law. ACM had alleged that shipping costs were not always reimbursed in a timely fashion. The company’s website allegedly also did not contain all of the required information about the manners in which consumers can exercise their right of return.
The District Court Rotterdam ruled that, during its investigation, ACM had not acted in line with general principles of proper administration. More specifically, ACM had warned other online fashion stores that it was planning to take enforcement actions. According to the Court, this unequal treatment barred ACM from imposing a fine for providing incorrect information on their websites on fashion stores the consumer watchdog hadn’t warned first. The District Court therefore reduced the fine.