European Commission

 

Case detail

B a c k

Directive article Article 2 (b)
Article 2 (d)
Article 5 1.
Annex I al1 9.
Annex I al1 14.
National ID Consumer Rights Protection Centre Decision No. E03-PTU-F108-34
Country Latvia Decision date 12/07/2012
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Patērētāju Tiesību Aizsardzības Centrs (Rīga) Plaintiff(s) MMM-2011
Court translation Consumer Rights Protection Centre (Riga) Defendant(s) Consumer Rights Protection Centre
Subject pyramid scheme
Keywords advertisementblack listfinancial servicesillegal productsinvestments

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Headnote

Placing an advertisement that includes contact information of a trader and a link to a trader’s website which offers consumers the possibility to invest money and get involved in a pyramid scheme, constitutes a misleading commercial practice in all circumstances.

Facts

Plaintiff is a trader who promoted its services by placing a billboard advertisement.

The relevant advertisement promoted investment services offered by the plaintiff and, inter alia, contained the text: “20-75% income a month!”.

The advertisement was also inviting consumers to visit the trader’s website MMM-2011, which offers consumers to invest money and get involved in a pyramid scheme.
 

Legal issue

Does placing an advertisement that includes contact information of a trader and a link to a trader’s website which offers consumers the possibility to invest money and get involved in a pyramid scheme, constitute a misleading commercial practice in all circumstances?

Decision

CRPC found the inclusion of a link to the MMM-2011 website in the billboard advertisement to constitute an unfair commercial practice by the plaintiff.

CRPC considered that via the internet link provided, the plaintiff was promoting a pyramid scheme where a consumer gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation that is derived primarily from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme.

Even though the billboard advertisement did not itself contain said information, CRPC held that the text of the advertisement and inclusion of the link to the trader’s website still constitutes an unfair commercial practice in all circumstances (blacklisted practice, point 14 of the Annex I to the Directive).

CRPC also established that the plaintiff is an investment service provider that had not obtained a license from the responsible regulatory body. Thus the CRPC deduced that plaintiff had created the impression that it had a legal right to provide the  services, whereas this was not so in reality.
 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
LV http://www.ptac.gov.lv/upload/ptac_lemumi/2012/izraksts_12_07_2012_apk_lemums.pdf

Result

The plaintiff was penalized by the CRPC.

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