Article 6 1. (a)
Article 6 1. (b)
|Common name||"RTI - TELEVOTO GRANDE FRATELLO"||Decision type||Administrative decision, first degree|
|Court||Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome)||Plaintiff(s)|
|Court translation||Italian Competition Authority||Defendant(s)||Reti Televisive Italiane S.p.A.|
|Keywords||average consumer, misleading commercial practices, telephone, transactional decision|
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It is an unfair commercial practice to use a televoting system in a television programme, and, on the one hand, periodically inciting consumers to vote, while, on the other hand, not giving information concerning the maximum number of votes for each single viewer and the technical limitations of the system as to avoid mass voting by other technical means.
On 13 October 2010, the Italian Competition Authority launched an investigation against the defendant in order to verify whether the defendant's behaviour was in line with the rules on unfair commercial practices, especially as regards the management and promotion of televoting systems for the television program "Grande Fratello" (Big Brother).
During this television programme, viewers were periodically invited to send SMS or to make telephone calls to support their favorite participant in the show. However, it was not clearly communicated to the viewers that they could only validly send a maximum number of messages or make a maximum number of phone calls. In addition, no information was given and no measures were taken against certain mechanisms (e.g. by invoking the services of a call center) which are able to influence the result of a "normal" voting.
Is it an unfair commercial practice to use a televoting system in a television programme, and, on the one hand, periodically inciting consumers to vote, while, on the other hand, not giving information concerning the maximum number of votes for each single viewer and the technical limitations of the system as to avoid mass voting by other technical means?
It was first held by the Authority that a televoting system can be regarded as a "product" in the sense of the unfair commercial practices regulations, and that the defendant should be regarded as a "trader".
Further, referring to the facts, the Authority quickly concludes that by omitting to give consumers sufficient information on the televoting mechanism and the possible interference of automatic mechanisms, the consumers are likely to take transactional decisions they would not have taken otherwise. Due to the failure to provide specific information on the actual configuration of the televoting system and the lack of a system preventing distortions, consumers were induced to believe that, by expressing a paid-for vote, they could influence the outcome of the show.
|URL Decision||Decision full text|
The Authority decided to fine the defendant with 60.000 Euros.
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