MEPs demand action on small business scams

MEPs have demanded tighter national laws and more action from the European Commission to ensure small businesses are afforded greater protection from directory scams.
Conservative MEPs have campaigned for a crackdown on rogue directories for many years, but only got the chance to vote on a report in December which was initiated after 400 petitions were received from aggrieved businesses.
The European City Guide and similar outfits advertise "free of charge" entries into business catalogues and then trick interested businesses into signing long-term agreements which foresee annual fees amounting to thousands of pounds. The scam forms have onerous contract terms in very small print, which are overlooked by businesses convinced they are merely getting a free listing. Although there is no evidence that these fraudsters have taken anyone to court to recover their fees, many small businesses have succumbed to the pressure of threats and parted with substantial sums of money.
The European Parliament called for greater awareness amongst business owners of the potential scam, tighter national laws on unfair commercial practices and for the European Commission to ensure national laws already in place comply strictly with European law.