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Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 6 1.
Article 7 1.
Article 13 al1
Annex I al1 20.
National ID Consumer Rights Protection Centre Decision Nr. E03-KREUD-25
Country Latvia Decision date 08/12/2011
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Patērētāju Tiesību Aizsardzības Centrs (Rīga) Plaintiff(s) Sabiedrība ar ierobežotu atbildību “Tele 2”
Court translation Consumer Rights Protection Centre (Riga) Defendant(s) Consumer Rights Protection Centre
Subject free
Keywords black listinformation obligationinformation requirementsprice information

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Headnote

Constitutes a misleading commercial practice, advertising a service as a "free" service, when the terms applicable to such free service state additional requirements, and such terms are only provided to the consumer in small prints so that the overall impression is that the service is free without additional conditions.

Facts

The plaintiff, a telecommunications provider, was advertising its 0 sant./min. tariffs. The Consumer Rights Protection Centre (CRPC) examined the advertisement. CRPC found that the advertisement either did not include information on (or the information was provided with substantially smaller letters) the fact that the offered tariffs were applicable only when using plaintiff’s telecommunication network. In addition, it was established that an additional application fee was payable and that the services at the announced tariff were available only for a limited period of time. Although the address of the internet homepage of the plaintiff was mentioned in the advertisement, CRPC accused the plaintiff of omitting to have provided material information, hence having breached the prohibition on misleading commercial practice.

Legal issue

Does it constitute a misleading commercial practice to advertise a service as a "free" service, when the terms applicable to such free service state additional requirements, and such terms are only provided to the consumer in small prints so that the overall impression is that the service is free without additional conditions?

Decision

CRPC held that the plaintiff had acted in a misleading way. Although the advertisement claimed “0 LVL tariffs for calls, connections, internet and sms", it was established by the CRPC that the conditions under which this offer could be obtained were only indicated in a considerably smaller print. Such terms included the limitation in time of the offer and the fact that the tariff only applied within plaintiff’s network and, finally, that subscription fees were payable to obtain the offer.
CRPC thus ruled that the necessary material information was not provided in a clear and legible manner and that the average consumer may be misled into thinking that nothing was to be paid at all to obtain the applicable tariffs.
The dominant message of the advertising was “0” tariffs, which was therefore misleading since the conditions were not displayed in the same manner. It is misleading practice in any circumstances where the trader claims that the product is free of charge or similar, where in fact it is not so.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
LV http://www.ptac.gov.lv/upload/ptac_lemumi/2011/tele2_nulles_lem.pdf

Result

Plaintiff was penalized for breaching the prohibition on unfair commercial practices. 

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