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Case detail



Directive article Article 7 1.
Article 7 3.
National ID 9192/2010, VII d.
Country Bulgaria Decision date 01/07/2011
Common name Decision type Supreme court decision
Court Върховен административен съд (София) Plaintiff(s) Bulgarian Telecommunication Company AD
Court translation Supreme Administrative Court (Sofia) Defendant(s) Consumer Protection Commission
Subject limitations imposed by the medium
Keywords terms & conditionsadvertisementmaterial informationmisleading omissions

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Headnote

Including in a promotional advertisement a reference to other sources of information about the terms and conditions of the promotion, does not constitute a misleading omission of material information, if the amount of information provided in the advertisement was limited due to the scarce capacity of the medium used for the advertisement.

Facts

The plaintiff included in its advertising materials (brochures and a monthly magazine) an advertisement of an on-going promotion. Consumers could benefit from the promotion only if they subscribed to the plaintiff’s fixed-line telephone services. The advertisement, however, did not specify this requirement explicitly. On the other hand, the advertisement referred to the plaintiff’s website, customer call centre and brick and mortar service points for further information on the terms & conditions of the promotion.

The defendant, a consumer authority, previously held that, when leaving out information on the requirement for an existing fixed-line telephone subscription, the plaintiff committed an infringement of the consumer protection rules in the form of misleading omission of material information.

The plaintiff appealed this ruling as unfounded.

Legal issue

Does the omission of information in an advertisement of a promotional offer, while providing a link to the terms & conditions of the promotion where the information can be found, constitute a misleading commercial practice?

Decision

The court held that findings of a possible infringement of the consumer protection rules need to take into account the underlying facts and circumstances of the case. More specifically, in cases of alleged misleading omissions in advertisements, the limitations imposed by the medium used for an advertising has to be considered. The court noted that the advertisement in question was published only on one print page in brochures/magazines, hence the advertising capacity was limited.

As a result, the court held that it was reasonable for the trader to refer consumers to other sources for further information on the terms & conditions of the promotion. The defendant had done so by pointing consumers to its website, call centre and brick and mortar service points. 

The court concluded that such references did not breach the defendant’s mandatory duty of good faith and professional diligence. Hence, the court concluded that the references did not entail misleading omission of material information. 

  URL Decision Decision full text
BG http://www.sac.government.bg/court22.nsf/d6397429a99ee2afc225661e00383a86/ebc25343f6917aa8c22578a9004991df?OpenDocument
EN N/A

Result

The court quashed the defendant’s ruling that the plaintiff breached the consumer protection rules.

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