European Commission

 

Case detail



Directive article Article 7 1.
National ID 10 O 102/11 KfH
Country Germany Decision date 30/09/2011
Common name Decision type Court decision, first degree
Court Landgericht Ulm Plaintiff(s) Agency to Combat Unfair Competition
Court translation District Court Ulm (Ulm) Defendant(s) /
Subject information requirements
Keywords advertisementaverage consumerinformation obligationmisleading omissions

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Headnote

A company must provide full information on its sources when using consumer ratings for advertising purposes.

Facts

The plaintiff is a German Agency which combats unfair competition. The defendant is a well-known company, which distributes additives, lubricants as well as day-care products.
The defendant placed ads in newspapers and periodicals advertising its motor oil and using reader ratings from other periodicals with regard to such products. The defendant did not clearly indicate the source of these ratings.
The plaintiff sought to prohibit said advertisement on the basis of lack of transparency.
 

Legal issue

Must a company provide full information on its sources when using consumer ratings for advertising purposes?

Decision

The court held that in case test results, including reader ratings, are used for the advertisement of a product, the consumer must be informed where he can find further information on these tests  in an easily verifiable and unambiguous manner. Otherwise the advertiser omits material information that the average consumer needs in order to make an informed transactional decision (Art 7 section (1) of the UCP Directive).
The court further held that the references to reader ratings must be indicated as clearly as references to product tests. The consumer, the court ruled,  might have a legitimate interest in further details of the ratings, as for example the exact question posed for these ratings. Furthermore, reader ratings constitute a form of comparative advertisement and therefore require the information on the source and references.
 

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Result

The court granted the plaintiff's request.

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