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EU Court Orders Belgium to Allow Retail Bundling

(CN) - Belgium's ban on retailers' practice of bundling separate products violates European law, the Court of Justice ruled. The Belgian law was tested twice in Antwerp Commercial Court.

In the first case, gasoline company Total Belgium was accused of improperly offering car-breakdown services.

The second case was presented by Galatea, which runs a lingerie shop in Belgium. Galatea went to court to stop the Finnish magazine Flair from offering discounts in other lingerie shops.

In an opinion that applied to both cases, the Court of Justice ruled that European states cannot impose commercial restrictions that are tighter than those in the European Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

"The Belgian legislation lays down the principle that combined offers are prohibited," the court ruled.

Combined offers are not listed in Annex I of the Directive. That annex exhaustively lists the only commercial practices which are prohibited in all circumstances.

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