European Commission

 

Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1.
Annex I al1 1.
Annex I al1 20.
National ID 2S-21
Country Lithuania Decision date 15/10/2009
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) UAB “Roventa”
Subject free
Keywords black listeconomic behaviourmaterial distortionmisleading advertisingmisleading commercial practices

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Headnote

Advertising services as free for a certain period of time, period  after which consumers have to pay a monthly subscription fee, may constitute a misleading commercial practice under certain circumstances.

Facts

The defendant advertised its cable TV services, uncluding wording such as “Free for 3 months”.

In order to benefit from said promotion, a consumer was compelled to sign a fixed-period service agreement with the defendant.

Depending on the length of the agreement, the consumer did not have to pay for the cable TV services for up to the first 3 months, while later on he had to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Legal issue

Does the advertising of services as free for a certain period of time, period  after which consumers have to pay a monthly subscription fee, constitute a misleading commercial practice?

Decision

The Council noted that it is prohibited to describe a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge” or similar if a 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.

According to the Council, the defendant’s advertisement “Free for 3 months” reasonably suggested that the consumer would be able to use free cable TV services for 3 months. However, the Council held, by way of signing the fixed-period service agreement, the consumer will be obliged to pay a monthly subscription fee when the 3 months period has passed. 

The Council concluded that the consumer willing to benefit from the said promotion and watch cable TV for 3 months for free obviously had to incur additional costs which were not unavoidable because they were not related to, e.g., collecting or paying for delivery of the item.

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
LT http://www.konkuren.lt/index.php?show=nut_view&nut_id=1078

Result

A number of the defendant’s advertisements were concluded to be an unfair commercial practice and a misleading advertising. A fine of LTL 3,000 (approx. EUR 257) was imposed on the defendant. 

Additional information

Date Description URL
There is no events for this case.

Related case(s)

National ID Common Name Subject Country Link type
A502-989/2010 free Lithuania Cases are similar because the underlying facts are similar
I-1621-189/2009 free Lithuania Cases are similar because the underlying facts are similar

Legal Literature

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