On 10 December 2013, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of €96,000 on Monetalis Financieel Advies B.V. (Monetalis). The fine was imposed because Monetalis was guilty of illegal door-to-door selling in the period of 8 April 2009 to 7 May 2011.
Illegal door-to-door selling entails a seller taking the personal initiative to visit a consumer at home in order to induce him to take out a loan. A financial service provider may, for example, suggest during a telephone call with a consumer that they make an appointment to meet at the consumer's residence.
Monetalis was, at the time of the violation, a financial service provider and acted as an intermediary with respect to electronic money, savings accounts, consumer credit, mortgage loans, life insurance and non-life insurance and issued advice with respect to and passed on orders concerning units in investment institutions.
The company approached consumers by telephone on the basis of surveys filled in by consumers that had been sent out by lead generators. During the initial call, Monetalis established whether consumers had existing loans and whether they were interested in reducing monthly charges. An appointment for a home visit was also scheduled. The working method and the call script applied by Monetalis show that in practice the advisor always paid a personal visit to the consumer's home. He issued credit advice to the consumer during that personal visit.
Door-to-Door Sales Act
Investigation shows that Monetalis visited at least 393 consumers at home at the initiative of Monetalis. The AFM has further investigated five files. A loan agreement was actually signed at the consumer's home in all those files. All of the above means that Monetalis violated Section 6 of the Door-to-Door Sales Act.
This form of door-to-door selling is prohibited, because the consumer may be forced to make a purchase decision without being prepared during a personal visit to said consumer's home. He may be pressured or taken unawares to conclude a loan agreement. The Door-to-Door Sales Act aims to protect consumers against the above.
The maximum fine for violation of Section 6 of the Door-to-Door Sales Act amounted to €74,000 at the time of the violation. When determining the amount of the fine, the AFM took account of the seriousness of the violation, culpability and Monetalis' financial capacity.
Interested parties may submit the AFM's decision to the courts for review.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact the Financial Markets Information Line on: 0800 - 5400 540 (free of charge).
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