(Source: dpa, Hamburg, Germany) - Consumers hunting for credit on the internet often do not get all the information they are legally entitled to, the European Union said Tuesday, after a “sweep” of more than 560 websites found that 70 per cent were inadequate.
“Consumer credit is not always easy to understand, which is why there is European legislation in place to help consumers make informed decisions,” said the EU’s commissioner for consumer policy, John Dalli.
There are still cases of credit turning out “to be more expensive than it had originally appeared because important information was sometimes unclear or missing,” he noted.
The sweep – an annual exercise carried out by the EU to check compliance with different consumer-protection laws – checked websites offering credit cards, personal loans and car financing in the bloc’s 27 member states, along with Iceland and Norway.
Both financial institutions and intermediary companies that bring together the consumers and the banks were targeted.
Those that featured insufficient information in advertising, omitted key facts in offers or presented costs in a misleading way were flagged for national enforcement authorities to follow up on.
If the companies involved do not correct the problems, they could face fines or even a shutdown of their websites, Dalli said.
The highest number of websites with irregularities was found in Belgium at 89, although that was also by far the country with the most websites searched at 93.
It was followed by Britain, with 38 of 47 websites falling short, and the Netherlands, with 36 of 45 websites.
All 29 websites checked in Spain displayed irregularities, as did all 10 in Cyprus and all five in Malta.
No problems were found among the six Bulgarian, one Greek, 10 Icelandic and two Irish websites that were policed during the survey.
The commission did not identify any of the companies involved. dpa lan amh jln ar Author: Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl
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