Late payments: more fines in the first half but for a lower amount

The DGCCRF announced on Tuesday that it had drawn up 138 administrative fine procedures in the first half of 2022. The number of offenses is up compared to 2021.

The DGCCRF announced on Tuesday that it had drawn up 138 administrative fine procedures for a total amount of around 13.8 million euros in the first half of 2022 for non-compliance with payment deadlines by companies, a number of offenses on the rise. compared to 2021 even if the cumulative sum declines.

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These procedures consist of 75 penalty decisions already notified to the companies inspected (for a total amount of fines of nearly 9.5 million euros) and 63 penalty procedures in progress (for an amount, not yet final, of more of 4.3 million euros)“, Details in a press release the Repression of fraud, specifying that these checks were carried out in 2021. A year earlier, the DGCCRF had collected 16.3 million through 95 procedures, on checks carried out in 2020.

Fines up to 2 million euros

To explain this difference, the institution indicates that due to the Covid-19 which weakened the companies from March 2020, it was conciliatory with the offending companies. Some sanctions already announced this winter are particularly heavy, such as that of the brewer Heineken (1.8 million euros) or the pharmaceutical group Ipsen Pharma (1.29 million euros). In the coming months, the DGCCRF announces that it will target its efforts on large and medium-sized companies, in particular those which have benefited until June 20 from a loan guaranteed by the State as part of the measures to economic aid linked to Covid and which has not yet been checked.

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Fraud Control also indicates that it is particularly vigilant about “tensions in the road freight transport sector“. Since 2009, the law has capped intercompany contractual payment terms, which cannot exceed 60 days from the date of the invoice, or 45 days from the end of the month, even if “specific deadlines (are) provided for certain products or services“, According to the instance. The fines, increased in 2016, can go up to 2 million euros for a legal person and 75,000 for a natural person. They can be doubled in the event of a recurrence within two years. In June, the Observatory of payment terms recalled that only 41% of companies, including 75% of SMEs, paid their invoices on time. Since the entry into force of administrative sanctions in 2014, a total of 1,579 companies have been notified by the DGCCRF, for a cumulative fine of 126 million euros, recalls the press release.

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