Case Studies

Apify - EU Shop Watcher Case Study

TopMonks, in collaboration with Apify and Keboola, has developed a groundbreaking tool for the European Commission to combat fake discounts online, particularly during key sales periods like Black Friday.

This initiative leverages web scraping and AI technologies to ensure compliance with EU consumer protection directives, promoting transparency and safeguarding consumer rights against deceptive sales practices. This project underscores TopMonks' commitment to leveraging technology to enhance European consumer protection standards.

Project Details

Shop Watcher Initiative: Enhancing Consumer Protection

Since 2018, TopMonks, in collaboration with Apify and Keboola, has been at the forefront of detecting misleading online retail practices in the Czech Republic through the Shop Watcher project. This initiative uses web scraping and AI to differentiate real from fake discounts, enhancing consumer protection. Additionally, our efforts contributed to the development of a tool for the European Commission, aiding in the enforcement of consumer protection laws during significant sales events like Black Friday.

EU Directive Compliance Monitoring

TopMonks, in partnership with Apify, embarked on an ambitious project to assist the European Commission by developing a tool for monitoring compliance with a new EU directive across 11 EU member states and 2 EEA countries, targeting 16,000 products on 176 websites. This project marked the first use of our innovative AI tool for generic price extraction, demonstrating our commitment to improving the e-commerce environment in the Czech Republic and across Europe. The tool's success, evidenced by its detection of non-compliant discounts in 43% of monitored stores, highlights the potential of AI in ensuring fair trade practices and consumer protection.

AI-Powered Detection of Misleading Discounts

The provided chart demonstrates the detection of non-compliance with EU regulations by comparing advertised discounts against actual product prices.

The provided chart demonstrates the detection of non-compliance with EU regulations by comparing advertised discounts against actual product prices. The blue line represents the base price, while the red lines show the discounted prices. Discrepancies, such as a base price drop followed by an unjustified increase, indicate that the advertised discounts may not be genuine, suggesting a potential breach of EU consumer protection laws.


“I'm proud of our small team that has managed to deliver a tool in a short time that builds on our years of experience in developing and running Hlídač shopů (Shop Watcher). At first, we reused just the chart, but in the background, we had our tools for data quality monitoring, our experience on how to do effective scraping at scale, and our platform for creating and running serverless solutions.”

-- Ales Roubíček, Developer at

“The results of this sweep clearly show, on the one hand, that many traders in Europe still display misleading discounts and need to align with the new requirements of EU consumer protection law as soon as possible. On the other hand, this sweep proves that advanced IT tools leveraging AI can be the key in detecting infringements of consumer protection legislation on a large scale. It is therefore essential to invest in advanced digital tools and appropriate enforcement techniques to protect consumers in digital markets.”

-- Marie-Paule Benassi, Head of Consumer Enforcement and Redress Unit, DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission

For more details, please visit the original blog post on the Apify Blog.