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Brussels, 3 June 2010

Distance marketing of financial services: the Commission continues infringement proceedings against the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Italy.

Today the European Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Italy for inadequate transposition of Directive 2002/65/EC concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services into their national law.

Directive 2002/65/EC concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services grants consumers, amongst other things, the right to receive certain pre-contractual information, as well as the right to withdraw from a contract with a service provider within 14 calendar days.

The Commission considers that the above-mentioned Member States have failed in their national laws transposing this Directive to sufficiently protect these consumer rights.

For example, a consumer in the Netherlands, who has concluded a contract over life insurance, indemnity insurance or funeral service insurance, might only be provided with essential information on his contract at the moment the policy is issued. The Directive, however, foresees that he is provided with certain information in good time before he is bound by a contract or offer.

In Spain, not all consumers are protected from the unsolicited use by a supplier of automated calling systems and fax machines, whereas the Directive requires the consumer's prior consent.

In Sweden, a consumer who withdraws from a contract may be required to pay for preparatory actions for the conclusion of this contract, like e.g. an assessment of his ability to repay the credit. According to the Directive, he may only be required to pay for a service he has actually received.

It appears that consumers in Italy who withdraw from the contract have a shorter period for returning any sums or property received than provided for in the Directive.

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