Warning from the SECO about directory scams

Bern, 14.03.2013 - In 2012 the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO, received more than 400 complaints relating to directory scams. Time and again companies are entering into contracts for trade directory listings against their wishes. Anyone who skims over forms and signs them without reading them thoroughly could be in for a nasty and costly surprise.

That is why, in its information brochure entitled “Beware of directory scams!”, the SECO high-lights the various dubious business practices of those involved in directory scams and advises people not to sign complex forms for an allegedly free trade directory listing without first reading them thoroughly. The costs incurred by signing these forms can be up to CHF 1,700.- per annum. Anyone who has been misled by one of these scams will find information and pre-printed text in the brochure on how a victim can defend himself against these business practices.

The SECO will intervene against those involved in directory scams if collective interests are affected. This means that an extended number of people must have been affected by an unfair business practice. The SECO is unable to take any action in the individual case nor can it file any claims for recovery or compensation. Any person who has lost money must file legal proceedings themselves.

The SECO is a member of an informal network, the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network ICPEN (https://icpen.org). Market surveillance authorities from all over the world who are taking action against national and international unfair business practices are affiliated to this network. Many of this network’s members are conducting an awareness-raising campaign in parallel with the SECO in order to issue warnings about unfair business practices in various areas.

Address for enquiries

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
Holzikofenweg 36
CH-3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 462 56 56
Fax +41 58 462 56 00


State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Last modification 28.01.2021

Top of page


Media enquiries

We kindly request you to address your written media enquiries to medien@seco.admin.ch  

Head of Communications and Media Spokesperson

Antje Baertschi
Tel. +41 58 463 52 75

Deputy Head of Communications and Media Spokesperson

Fabian Maienfisch
Tel. +41 58 462 40 20


Livia Willi Yéré
Tel. +41 58 469 69 28

Print contact

Subscribing to news