In 2017, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) inspected 546 sports halls in France. Of these 546 establishments visited, 367 presented anomalies, i.e. a rate of 67 %. These checks gave rise to 411 procedures, including 368 for educational, preventive or corrective purposes and 43 resulting in sanctions.

This high rate of anomalies justifies, according to the DGCCRF, the continuation of its control action in the sports hall sector. For the administration, this maintenance of controls is necessary given the "strong interest of consumers in these services, the boom in registrations through websites as well as the growing number of low-cost rooms".

If controls cannot be avoided, it is however possible to considerably limit the risk of sanctions by implementing simple measures. To better understand the measures to be put in place, the irregularities noted by the DGCCRF and the penalties incurred will first be presented and then the measures to be put in place developed.

DEFECTS OF INFORMATION ON PRICES AND GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SALE (39 % OF ANOMALIES)

The DGGCRF has noted numerous breaches of the obligations of tariff transparency. The administration was able to observe that many cinemas did not provide consumers with sufficient price information. In particular, faults in the display of prices or incomplete displays were noted, as well as faults in the communication of the general conditions of sale.

Conviction of the company operating the room to an administrative fine of a maximum amount of 15,000 euros.

• Display its prices both in theaters and on the website. This information must be particularly visible.
§ In the dining room, they should preferably be displayed at reception on media that can be read from a distance.
§ On the Internet, it is important to provide a “Rates” section.

• Provide consumers with complete information on prices and include all components of the total price paid (registration fees, creation of badges, monthly prices depending on the duration of the commitment, any “extras” other than subscription, etc.).

• Be specific about call prices (for example: – 50% for the first three months): Clearly indicate in the subscription form and on advertising media:

  • The validity period of the call price and
  • The price applicable at the end of this period.

• Clearly show the prices in the subscription form signed by consumers. Be careful that there are no inconsistencies between the prices displayed in the room or on the website and the prices mentioned in the form.
§ Advertising displays must be updated. In the event of price changes, remove the old supports and install the supports including the new prices from the day the new prices take effect. The infringements noted are sometimes linked to a lack of responsiveness by professionals. It is imperative to update its prices in “real time”.

Practical Guides

Abuse of dominant position
Sports halls: anticipating and managing DGCCRF control risks
Promotion of the Egalim Law
Vertical agreements