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Case detail



Directive article Article 6 1. (b)
Article 7 1.
National ID PS8712
Country Italy Decision date 11/06/2013
Common name "UNICREDIT-CONTO RISPARMIO SICURO" Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome) Plaintiff(s) Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Rome)
Court translation Italian Competition Authority Defendant(s) Unicredit S.p.A.
Subject misleading advertising
Keywords financial servicesmaterial informationmisleading omissions

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Headnote

An advertisement which highlights the maximum interest rate of a deposit account but which omits to provide information on the average interest rate of the same account, constitutes an unfair commercial practice.

Facts

On 18 December 2012, the Italian Competition Authority (the plaintiff) decided to launch an investigation against the defendant, a financial institution, with regard to its advertising campaign of its deposit account "Conto Risparmio Sicuro". The advertising campaign included TV commercials, radio commercials, posters and banners on the defendant's website.

The defendant advertised that the consumers could earn up to 7% interest rate on their savings in the deposit account. However, the 7% interest rate was paid only in the fifth year the consumer had its savings in the deposit account. In the previous four year the interest rate paid by the trader was lower. The average interest rate paid by the bank during five years was around 4%. Such information was not disclosed in the advertising materials that contained only a disclaimer in very small characters which referred to the defendant's website and to the prospectus for other information.

The defendant argued that its advertising campaign was compliant with the financial regulations.
 

Legal issue

Does an advertisement which highlights the maximum interest rate of a deposit account but which omits to provide information on the average interest rate of the same account, constitute an unfair commercial practice?

Decision

The plaintiff first confirmed its jurisdiction on the case and reminded that the regulations on unfair commercial practices equally apply to financial services.

Next, the plaintiff ascertained that the advertising campaign conducted by the defendant constituted an unfair commercial  practice because it omitted to provide for essential information necessary for the consumers to fully understand the profitability of the advertised deposit account.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
IT http://www.agcm.it/consumatore/consumatore-delibere/open/C12560D000291394/994E29E47D1507A3C1257BA3003AE6BA.html

Result

On the basis of the gravity and duration of the practice, the plaintiff imposed on the trader a fine of € 250.000,00 and ordered it to cease the misleading advertising campaign.

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