Online sales of vaping products has been banned in Belgium by Royal decree. Yet a range of French (and other) vaping websites had a strong market in Belgium.
A major player on the Belgian market, LB Retail, of the AlterSmoke Group, have decided to sue Le Petit Vapoteur this October for unfair trading practices. LB Retail estimated that Le Petit Vapoteur were making 2 million Euros in illegal Belgian sales, or approximately 6.5% of their 35 million Euros in annual figures.
“When the royal decree was issued, my client was not happy about it, but he complied with the law. It may be harsh, but the law is the law. We expect everyone to follow it. However this was not the case, and these unfair trading practices have been increasing day by day,” stated Bruno Fonteyn, AlterSmoke’s legal representative. They demanded damages of 2,500€ per day and per infraction, with a ceiling of 2 million euros.
The Petit Vapoteur representative, on the other hand, estimated that his client, who was not actively selling to Belgian consumers, is not concerned by article 6 of the royal decree.
The judge finally came to a decision in favour of AlterSmoke at the Tribunal of Commerce. The French leader in the onling vape shop sector has as a result blocked deliveries for Belgian addresses. Other French online shops followed suit, for example V’APE, a premium e-liquid manufacturer.
This decision will impact the European market as a whole, requiring a reorganisation. We regret that EU regulations are not in harmony, which would give the smokers of Europe all the best chances to quit cigarettes and move to vaping.