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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 2 (h)
Article 3 1.
Article 5 2. (a)
Article 7 2.
Article 13 al1
National ID Administratīvās rajona tiesas spriedums lietā Nr. A42880809
Country Latvia Decision date 22/03/2011
Common name Decision type Court decision, first degree
Court Administratīvā rajona tiesa (Rīga) Plaintiff(s) AS “Swedbank”
Court translation District Court of Administrative Cases (Riga) Defendant(s) Consumer Rights Protection Centre (Riga)
Subject professional diligence
Keywords advertisementconsumer rightsinaccurate informationinformation requirements

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Headnote

(1) An obligation exists for characters used in advertisements to provide material information, to meet certain size requirements, even when no explicit legal requirements are set forth in applicable law.

(2) It is contrary to the requirements of professional diligence, when a trader does not comply with domestic legal requirements.

Facts

In January 2009, the plaintiff carried out an advertising campaign on television and internet via the plaintiff's website.

CPRC held, that by providing information in overly small characters and therefore in an unclear way, the plaintiff had breached the Latvian Law on State Funded Pensions (LSFP). CPRC further found that the plaintiff violated LSFP and the advertising legislation and that the plaintiff had infringed the prohibition on unfair commercial practices (Unfair Commercial Practice Prohibition Law / UCPPL).

Conversely, the plaintiff argued that:
(1) no explicit legal requirements existed concerning the size of characters to be used in advertisements, except when advertising certain products such as alcohol and cigarettes;
(2) it had fulfilled all Latvian legal requirements and had acted in accordance with professional diligence and the provisions set forth in UCPPL.

Legal issue

(1) Does an obligation exist for characters used in advertisements to provide material information, to meet certain size requirements, even when no explicit legal requirements are set forth in applicable law?

(2) Is it contrary to the requirements of professional diligence, when a trader does not comply with domestic legal requirements?

 

Decision

The court agreed to the arguments of CPRC and found the plaintiff in violation of Latvian law.

(1) The court considered the aim of the advertising legislation (especially destined to protect the interests of consumers in the field of advertising) and the UCPPL (destined to ensure the protection of consumer rights and interests and prohibiting a trader to use unfair commercial practices against consumers).

The court further established that information for a consumer must be presented in an easily comprehensible and accessible way, even though local law does not set forth specific requirements (including requirements on the size of the characters used).

If the information is presented to consumers in an unclear way, e.g. by using small characters, providing information in rapid motion so it is practically unreadable, etc., the right of a consumer to receive clear and comprehensible information is not respected.

The court thus concluded that the information provided, including the characters used, must be clearly visible and comprehensible.

(2) In a short reasoning, the court established that by not providing characters of appropriate size in its advertisements and by not complying with other legal requirements, the plaintiff acted contrary to the requirements of professional diligence.

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LV N/A

Result

The claims of the plaintiff were dismissed.

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