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AOL France fined for unfair contract clauses

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French consumer group, UFC, is claiming victory for ordinary Net users after AOL France was fined €30,000 (£20,000) by a French court yesterday over allegations that parts of the ISP's contract were unfair.

UFC and its magazine Que Choisir had questioned the legality of more than 38 clauses in AOL France's contracts, including its own service responsibility, per-minute billing and restrictive contract terms.

Yesterday, a French court found that 21 clauses were "abusive" and 11 "illegal", according to a report by AFP.

As well as the fine, AOL France was ordered to publish the court's verdict on its website and in three newspapers. It must also email its punters with news, reported the news agency.

AOL France said it planned to appeal the decision insisting that half the clauses cited in the case no longer appear in its contract.

And it warned that the decision would "impact the entire industry, since other market players are the object of similar complaints". ®

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