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Case detail



Directive article Article 5 2. (b)
Article 6 1. (b)
National ID PS5595
Country Italy Decision date 01/12/2010
Common name "PASTARISO SCOTTI ATTIVA-RIDUCE IL COLESTEROLO" Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s)
Subject health and safety
Keywords false informationmisleading advertisingproduct characteristics

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Headnote

Assigning positive health features to a product and advertise it as having a positive health effect, when in fact this product does not have such capacity, constitutes a misleading commercial practice. 

Facts

Following a complaint reported by a consumer on 5 July 2010 the Italian Competition Authority decided to start an investigation concerning the food processor Riso Scotti S.p.A.

According to the complaints the trader advertised a line of products and described them in its packaging as if they were products useful to reduce cholesterol.

Since the practice was carried out also by using internet, press and television on 2 November 2010 the opinion of the Italian Communication Authority was required.
 

Legal issue

Can a trader assign to a product positive health features and advertise it as having a positive health effect, when in fact this product does not have such capacity?

Decision

The Italian Competition Authority ruled that the commercial practice of Riso Scotti S.p.A. constituted an unfair commercial practice.

According to the Authority, the trader advertised its line of products emphasizing its false capacity of reducing cholesterol.

The investigation established that the concerned products were unsuitable and generally not capable of reducing cholesterol, therefore these products did not have an adequate ability to reduce cholesterol as advertised.

The advertising of the trader was considered an unfair commercial practice consisting in the diffusion of false information, which deceived the average consumer in relation to the main characteristics of the advertised products. This impaired consumer's ability to make an informed decision and caused (or might cause) him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/ricerca-avanzata/open/C12560D000291394/AED521FBB2E38F7CC1257800003DE344.html

Result

On the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice the Italian Competition Authority decided to fine the trader and imposed a duty to cease the unfair behavior. The trader was fined EUR120.000.

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