Black Friday fraud changes to the law of an EU directive

The same scenario has been repeated for many years. At the end of November, the words “Black Friday” appear on the shop windows. This is an incentive to come shopping and take advantage of the promotion. Every year, shopping centers are bursting at the seams, and a few days later, many customers complain that they have been cheated. And although the situation repeats itself, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection receives complaints about promotions, sales and special occasions every year. One of the unfair practices most often faced by consumers, incl. during Black Friday, there is the so-called “juggling with prices”, or creating the appearance that the promotion is attractive by raising prices a few days earlier to lower them just before the famous shopping holiday.

There are so many abuses and manipulations that the European Commission became interested in the topic. The prepared directive of the European Parliament and the EU Council (of November 27, 2019) introduces changes in the field of e-commerce, which will significantly affect the possibility of advertising products. The changes include an order to inform you that search results have been matched based on specific criteria, or a ban on posting reviews about products that do not actually come from people who purchased the product.

It will not be possible to inflate prices just before the promotion

However, from the point of view of the functioning of Black Friday, another provision is key, regarding the need to inform about changes in the prices of a given product over the past month.

– In accordance with the latest regulations, in each promotion announcement, the seller will be required to state the earlier price, i.e. the lowest price applied by the economic operator during a period which may not be less than 30 days before applying the price reduction. This means that stores will not be allowed to engage in unfair practices of inflating prices just prior to the promotion, just to bring down the value of the product to its base price while applying a discount message. Until now, such activities were considered unethical, but were not legally prohibited, explains Agata Jaczyńska, attorney at law at Chałas i Wspólnicy. And he adds that the new directive introduces sanctions for this type of practice. – You should remember this when designing promotions for the next Black Friday – says attorney Jaczyńska.

The provisions of the directive will probably not enter into force before the upcoming Black Friday, although the content of the directive provides for implementation into national legal systems on November 28, 2021, and application from May 28, 2022.

Last year, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection issued a warning against various types of tricks that should be avoided when shopping at Black Friday sales, and published a guide video to help you make purchases without exposing yourself to unfair commercial practices.


About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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