NEWS24 October 2011

EU trade orgs lobby European Commission to ban ‘sugging’

Europe Government

BRUSSELS— Trade bodies Efamro and Esomar have written to the European Commission calling for rules that would ban companies from selling and fundraising under the guise of research.

The practices – known as ‘sugging’ and ‘frugging’ – are banned in the case of telephone communication thanks to Directive 97/7/EC, which states that callers should make clear their identity and the commercial purpose of the call at the outset of a conversation.

However Efamro and Esomar note there are “no similar protection[s] against such practices used in person or in any other form of communication, such as letter, fax and email”. They call for the Commission to make clear that sugging and frugging fall within practices banned by Directive 2005/29/EC, the application of which is currently under review.

The Directive already prohibits traders from “falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer”, but Efamro and Esomar say member states often give “a very narrow reading to this prohibition” and that “it is often interpreted as applying only to business advertisements”.

In a statement, the trade organisations said: “When unscrupulous operators pose as market researchers, this undermines consumers’ trust in research and impacts their willingness to participate in research.”