European Commission

 

Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 6 1.
Article 6 1. (b)
National ID Ombudsman of the Consumer 6th of October 2011 (Νo of protocol 9039)
Country Greece Decision date 06/10/2011
Common name Decision type Other
Court Συνήγορος του καταναλωτή Plaintiff(s) Panhellenic Association of Private Institutes of Professional Training
Court translation Ombudsman of the Consumer Defendant(s) I.I.E.K. AKMI
Subject quality mark
Keywords authorisationmisleading advertisingtrust mark

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Headnote

A reference by a trader to an international award which stands for an exceptional service quality, whereas the trader in reality has not obtained such award, constitutes a misleading commercial practice.

Facts

The Ombudsman of the Consumer received a report of the plaintiff, mentioning that the defendant had infringed the prohibition on misleading advertisements by stating that the defendant, an educational institute, was honored by the 10th Directorate General of the European Commission as one of the seven best Educational Institutions in Europe.
The plaintiff asked defendant to provide elements that could prove the truth of the claims contained in the advertisement. Additionally, the defendant was asked to provide the legal license which is mandatory for the publication of such commercial promotion.
However, the documents provided by the defendant, did not prove the truth of its claims contained in the advertisement. In addition, the license provided related to an older promotion with a similar general title but had a clearly different text and content.
 

Legal issue

Does a reference by a trader to an international award which stands for an exceptional service quality, whereas the trader in reality has not obtained such award, constitute a misleading commercial practice?

Decision

The Ombudsman held that the professional behavior of the defendant is contrary to the principles of professional diligence as it does not comply with fair market practices which require transparency to the promotions and the pre-contractual information provided to the consumers as a necessary condition for the transactions.
Additionally, the Ombudsman held, since the advertisement refers to an award which is internationally recognized and valid and which offers high standards of educational quality, the lack of proof that such award was actually granted to the defendant was found to create a material distortion of the economic behavior of the consumers.
According to the decision, these false allegations most likely will have an impact on the decision of potential students ot their parents to opt for the defendant's educational institute.
 

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Result

The Ombudsman ruled against the defendant.

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