European Commission


Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 6 1.
National ID 2J/2011
Country Portugal Decision date 10/02/2011
Common name Decision type Other
Court Segunda Secção do Júri de Ética Publicitária do ICAP (Lisboa) Plaintiff(s) Unidentified consumer
Court translation Second Section of ICAP’s Jury for Ethics in Advertising (Lisbon) Defendant(s) TMN – Telecomunicações Móveis Nacionais, Lda.
Subject misleading advertising
Keywords average consumermisleading advertisingprice informationtelephone

+ Expand all


The use of contradictory claims and small lettering when communicating essential information about services amounts to misleading advertising, unless these are made necessary due to the nature of the means of advertising used.



The defendant is a mobile operator that implemented an advertisement campaign on its website ( in which it made the following claim: “unlimited voice, text and Internet from 15 euros per month”. The defendant also used the phrase “general conditions” in very small letters in the advertisement.
The plaintiff subscribed to said services and discovered that the conditions of subscription included limitations for voice calls (max. 2000 minutes per month), text messages (max. 1500 per day) and mobile Internet (max. 500 MB per month).

Legal issue

Does the use in an advertisement of the notion “unlimited voice, text and Internet” constitute a misleading advertisement if the conditions for subscribing to such services are, in fact, subject to limitations for voice calls (max. 2000 minutes per month), text messages (max. 1500 per day) and mobile Internet (max. 500 MB  per month)?



The Jury for Ethics in Advertising held that commercial communications must be truthful and not deceiving and that they should abstain from all declarations and representations that might directly or indirectly deceive the consumer, whether through omissions, ambiguity or exaggeration, namely concerning the characteristics, price, nature and composition of the goods or services advertised. Also, the descriptions, allegations or illustrations made in a commercial advertisement must be verifiable.
By focusing strongly on the slogan "unlimited voice, text and Internet from 15 euros per month", the plaintiff’s advertisement campaign is contradicted by the limitations to the use of voice calls, text messages and mobile Internet services and, therefore, the notion "unlimited" is likely to mislead the
average consumer.
Regarding the general conditions, the Jury stated that any information necessary to correctly understand the messages in an advertisement must be visible enough and noticeable to the average consumer. The use of statements in small lettering can only have the effect and also the purpose of diverting the consumer’s attention away from the content of the statement, thereby breaching the applicable ethical rules and laws.
Moreover, the legislator only allows essential information – such as the price of goods or services – to be advertised in small lettering when the means of advertising chosen imposes limitations of time and/or space and such information may be made available to consumers in other ways, which was not the case here.
Finally, the Jury held that there is a presumption that an advertisement against which an action is brought is misleading where the trader fails to adduce sufficient evidence to prove that the claims made in the advertisement are true.

  URL Decision Decision full text
PT Click here


The Jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

Additional information

Date Description URL
There is no events for this case.

Related case(s)

National ID Common Name Subject Country Link type
There is no related cases for this case.

Legal Literature

Title Author
There is no Legal Literature for this case.