Influential people in the sights of the DGCCRF. 60% of those surveyed by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention are not aware of the rules of advertising. Several criminal cases have been initiated against them. Since 2021, the DGCCRF has tracked nearly sixty agencies and influencers active in the promotion of cosmetics, dietary supplements, “weight loss” programs, or online trading and betting services. A report on the matter was just released by the government agency on January 23rd.
Disguised or misleading advertising, risky products, scams…
None of the pinned influencers fulfilled the obligation to inform followers about the commercial nature of their publications. Among these influencers, the DGCCRF criticizes some for “deceiving consumers about the properties of the products they sell” such as false anti-Covid claims or organic products that didn’t exist. Others promoted “risky products or services, especially in the sports betting industry” without complying with the relevant regulations, while still others engaged in “dropshipping” without verifying that the products they sold online through a third-party platform were well received.
“In the most serious cases,” some influencers promoted the personal training account (CPF) as a means of receiving gifts or money, and thus embezzled “money intended for training,” according to a press release from the department under the Ministry. Economics and finance. Also put forward were “injections for aesthetic purposes by cosmetologists and non-medical professionals, the practice of which is not without health risks.”
Up to two years in prison and a €300,000 fine
“Depending on the severity of the investigation, the investigation measures will vary from a warning to the transfer of a protocol on the offense to the prosecutor’s office,” the administration points out. Fraudulent commercial activity can be punished by two years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 euros. Powerful individuals who have not complied with their injunction may also be held liable. “These follow-up actions can finally be accompanied by measures to inform the general public about the observed facts and follow-up actions.”
This DGCCRF report concludes a series of meetings involving about fifty sector players held at the Ministry of Economy following several social media scandals. Public consultations on this issue remain open until 31 January. Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire will say in early March whether he intends to take concrete measures.
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