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Case detail



Directive article Article 11 al2 (b)
Annex I al1 1.
Annex I al1 20.
National ID 2S-14
Country Lithuania Decision date 31/05/2010
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Lietuvos Respublikos konkurencijos taryba (Vilnius) Plaintiff(s)
Court translation Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (Vilnius) Defendant(s) Estonian company AS Viasat
Subject free
Keywords administrative authorityadvertisementblack listfalse informationmisleading advertisingmisleading commercial practices

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Headnote

A one-time fee and an annual fee, payable to activate and maintain a service, do not constitute unavoidable costs of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item. 

Facts

The defendant launched a promotional compaign, advertising its television services. The promotional materials included wording such as “Catch a golden zero” and “Order a GOLDEN PACKET now and watch more than 50 TV channels freely for year”.

The consumer, accepting the promoted offer, was obliged to pay a one-time fee for card activation. Furthermore, consumers also had to pay an annual fee for card lease.

Legal issue

Do a one-time fee and an annual fee, payable to activate and maintain a service, constitute unavoidable costs of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item?

Decision

The Council referred to the Lithuanian Law on Advertising pursuant to which an advertisement is in all circumstances regarded as misleading if it falls under the "blacklist" provisions (per se prohibitions). 

In particular, the Council noted that at all times should be considered misleading, the commercial practice (including advertising) of describing a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge” or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.

The Council concluded that a consumer, willing to watch more than 50 TV channels freely for a year, in any case had to incur additional costs which were not related to responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item or otherwise unavoidable. Therefore, the defendant’s statements were considered to be a blacklisted misleading commercial practice.

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
LT http://www.konkuren.lt/index.php?show=nut_view&nut_id=1140

Result

A number of the defendant’s advertisements were concluded to be an unfair commercial practice and a misleading advertising. A fine of LTL 174,600 (approx. EUR 49,886) was imposed on the defendant. 

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