DGCCRF: telephone solicitation control as a key issue

THE report 2023 of Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) reveals a year marked by controls, but above all by sanctions. 2,247 administrative fines were announced for the amount 49.3 million euros. 156 national investigations were carried out, resulting in 66,240 inspections of facilities and websites. 68% of measures related to consumer economic protection, while 23% related to consumer safety.

More than a third of professionals in the anomaly

12,270 reports consumers in terms of banking, insurance, mutual companies has been uploaded. The results of investigations carried out in the insurance industry reveal numerous deficiencies in compliance: almost a third of the 147 professionals controlled presented violation in things information consumers or fairness of business practices. 46 warnings, court orders and reports were then issued.

Experts from the field of insurance (additional health insurance, life insurance contract, legal protection insurance) often contact consumers by phone. “who do not always clearly present their offers”, regrets the supervisory authority. Abuses are still numerous: misleading commercial speech, more or less “forced” subscriptions, etc. More than a third of the inspected experts were in anomaly. The survey was conducted among 46 establishments (independent brokers, wholesale brokers or insurance companies) that were targeted based on reports from consumers sent to SignalConso and Bloctel who complained about contracts made without their knowledge after a simple phone call. Violations were found at 14 controlled operators.

Forgotten regulator approval

Using the option of electronic signature by entering a code sent by SMS, some professionals were informed under false pretenses, while the code was sent to the consumer to be entered directly in the contract validation interface. “More seriously, the online bank concluded insurance contracts automatically, for example when signing another contract such as a consumer loan, without ever asking for the consumer’s consent. However, this can only be formalized by his personal handwritten or electronic signature. A professional cannot sign for him, nor can he request any personal code to enable signing”denotes DGCCRF.

Absence of pre-contractual information

Messages and recordings accessed by investigators revealed misleading commercial speech regarding the identity of the caller, the reason for the call or the characteristics of the proposed offer. In addition to the non-compliance with the telephone record, the DGCCRF noted the non-compliance with the system for countering telephone canvassing. Controlled brokers showed little respect for the duty to provide to the consumer pre-contractual informationat least 24 hours, before signing the contract to review it, or they took it as a simple step in the subscription.

5 criminal reports were filed sanctioning non-compliance with the obligation to record campaign calls, misleading business statements or failure to obtain consumer consent. An administrative report for the agitation of persons registered against telephone agitation and 4 court orders regarding the obligation to record telephone calls were recorded. There were also several notices of shortcomings in the pre-contractual documentation, such as the absence of mention of the address of the Office for Prudential Review and Resolution (ACPR) and the absence of information about mediation.

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