Pushy telesales calls to be banned

Swedish consumers fed up with persistent telesales calls will soon have the law on their side, after the government accounced plans to ban pushy sales methods.

The ban is part of wide-ranging government proposals to crack down on aggressive marketing. Salespeople going door to door or working on the streets are also covered by the ban. It will be up to the Swedish Market Court to determine which methods are aggressive. Telesales people calling late at night are among those who could find themselves falling foul of the law.

Companies which break the rules could be forced to pay millions in ‘market disruption charges’.

“This will be pretty painful, as the charge can be as high as five million kronor,” said Integration and Consumer Minister Nyamko Sabuni, who is responsible for the plan.

Unsolicited mail will also face stricter rules:

“Until now it has been far too common for consumers to notice after receiving a mailshot that the goods advertised are not available in the shops,” said Sabuni.

“The rules, which have so far been voluntary, have clearly not been sufficient. I hope that in the future we will see mailshots in which customers can have greater confidence,” she said.

Currently, the law states that marketing must follow ‘good practice’. Only a few companies have been fined, in all cases for serious breaches. The government expects the more specific rules to lead to more companies being fined.

Sabuni said she also planned to include in the bill a ban on using advertisements in any media to directly encourage children to buy products or services. The new law is part of efforts to harmonize laws on the issue in EU countries and comes on top of Sweden’s current law banning television adverts aimed at the under-12s.

The new law is being submitted by the government for vetting by the Council of Laws, a body which will examine whether there are any conflicts with existing legislation. The government plans for the rules to come into force on July 1st.