The European Commission and Member States are not doing enough to assist SMEs who have been caught out by misleading business directory scams was the message from Liam Aylward MEP in Strasbourg today.

“These scams have hit businesses in Ireland by masquerading as legitimate directories, then charging the unsuspecting business for a service they did not ask for or willingly sign up to.   It is usually SMEs, already struggling in a tough economic climate, that suffer from these kind of practises as they are unable to afford the legal costs involved in combating such fraud.”

Speaking following a vote in the European Parliament calling on the European Commission to speed up its activities with regarding to improving the legislation on this issue the Ireland East MEP stated,

“I have raised this problem in the Parliament on many occasions and have contacted the Commission regarding the numerous complaints I received from my own constituents about internet directory scams emanating from outside Ireland.”

“It is unacceptable that the Commission and Member States cannot get their act together on this issue and assist the countless SMEs that have been defrauded and scammed.”

While the Directive 2006/114/EC, concerning misleading and comparative advertising is in place, not enough is being done by the Commission and Member States to assist companies that have fallen victim to these scams or to prevent further scams. The continuance of this issue across the Union clearly means that additional steps are necessary.

MEPs today urged the European Commission to speed up its activities with regard to revising and improving the Directive and other relevant legislation so as to put an end to the misleading practices of business directory companies as soon as possible, notably by specifically black-listing misleading practices by business directories;

According to Liam Aylward,

“Citizens and business that are victims of these scams are contact MEPs on a regular basis.  It is not enough to say that there is a Directive in place, the Commission and Member States must ensure that this Directive is working for citizens and that adequate measures are taken to stamp out this damaging and misleading, practise.  The EU needs to protect European citizens and European businesses from this all too common fraud.”