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Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1.
Article 6 1. (b)
National ID Decision nr RLU nr 2/2009
Country Poland Decision date 03/04/2009
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji I Konsumentów w Warszawie Plaintiff(s) The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection
Court translation The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in Warsaw Defendant(s) Dairy Cooperative (seated in Biała Podlaska)
Subject misleading commercial practices
Keywords average consumereconomic behaviourfalse impressionmaterial distortionmisleading commercial practicesproduct characteristicstransactional decision

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Headnote

The occurrence of ingredients that are not allowed in certain products with a protected name (such as "butter") constitutes a misleading commercial practice when the trader sells its products under that protected name. 

Facts

The defendent is a business entity that provides customers with dairy products such as milk, cheese or butter. Two of these products were described as follows: "Extra butter a 200 g" and "Cream butter (73,5%fat)".

After inspection, it was revealed that these products contained certain ingredients that are not allowed in products indicated as "butter".

The President of the Office started proceedings with the intention to determine whether such practice could be deemed to be prohibited on the following grounds: 

(1) The practice is contrary to the quality requirements specified in the Polish and EU provisions; and

(2) The practice misleads the consumer with respect to the quality and characteristics of the product, as the consumer is not properly informed about the product and, as a result, is likely to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
 

Legal issue

Does the occurrence of ingredients not allowed in certain products that have a protected name (such as "butter") constitute a misleading commercial practice when the trader sells its products under that protected name?

Decision

(1) The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection considered that the collective consumers interests were infringed pursuant to art. 24 sec. 1 and 2 pt. 3 of the Polish Competition and Consumer Protection Act. The unlawful practice of the trader was qualified as an act contrary to the requirements of the Safety of Food and Nutrition Act, as well as regulations based on this act and European rules.

(2) The President also considered that the trader misled the consumer through the inappropriate description of a product and its qualities. Statements such "extra butter a 200g" and "cream butter (73,5% fat)" suggest that the product should contain animal fat, as the name "butter" is reserved only for animal fat. The fact that the product contains phytosterols, materially distorts or is likely to distort the economic behaviour of the average consumer whom it reaches or to whom it is addressed with regard to the product.  

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
PL http://decyzje.uokik.gov.pl/dec_prez.nsf/0/CC24E1AD727DD3C2C12575B60036CE9E/$file/decyzja%20do%20bip%20sm%20biala%20podlaska.pdf

Result

 

The President imposed a fine amounting to PLN 121.563 (about 30.500 EUR) for the first product and PLN 100 723,00 (about 25.000 EUR) for the second product.

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