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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 6 2. (a)
National ID Ombudsman of the Consumer 23rd of April 2010 (Protocol No 906)
Country Greece Decision date 23/04/2010
Common name Decision type Other
Court Συνήγορος του καταναλωτή Plaintiff(s) Ombudsman of the Consumer
Court translation Ombudsman of the Consumer Defendant(s) Association of Cars Importers Agents
Subject comparative advertising
Keywords comparative advertisingmisleading commercial practicesmisleading omissionsprice comparison

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Headnote

It is unfair for a trader to advertise a car by comparing its price to the prices of competitors, when the trader's price does not include the special car registration tax, while the competitors' prices do include this tax. All public announcements of prices that refer to the same characteristics of a category of products must allow consumers to compare products of the same category based on the same criteria for all suppliers. 

Facts

The Ombudsman of the Consumer received a number of consumer reports stating that a specific car importing company (member of the Association of Car Importers Agents) did not include in its final prices the special registration tax that applies to all the cars that are imported in the country. These prices, excluding the special registration tax, were included in comparative pricing lists that were published in car and motorcycle magazines and in various advertisements. 
 
These facts were confirmed by the research conducted by the Ombudsman.

Legal issue

Is it an unfair commercial practice to not include the special tax on a product in the advertised price for this product, in particular when the price is then compared to the price of other traders who do include this tax?

Decision

The Ombudsman stated that all public announcements of prices that refer to the same characteristics of a category of products or have the same target:

(1) must be based on common criteria for all the competitors, that allow an objective comparison to take place which will lead to an honest result for both the consumers and the competitors;
 
(2) must not infringe the healthy competition rules that apply between the competitors; and 
 
(3) must not infringe the consumer’s right to transparent information regarding the essential characteristics of the products.

  URL Decision Decision full text
EL http://www.synigoroskatanaloti.gr/docs/reports/2010-04-23.%CE%A3%CF%8D%CF%83%CF%84%CE%B1%CF%83%CE%B7%20%CF%83%CE%B5%20%CE%B5%CF%84%CE%B1%CE%B9%CF%81%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B5%CF%82%20auto-moto.pdf
EN N/A

Result

The Ombudsman of the Consumer suggested to the Association of Car Importers Agent to deal with this issue by proceeding with a direct and austere recommendation to its members to publish the prices of the new vehicles in a legitimate way that respects the consumers’ rights of transparent information and abides by the principles of healthy competition.

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