European Commission

 

Case detail

Directive article Annex I al2 31.
National ID Decision no. RPZ-30/2010
Country Poland Decision date 21/12/2010
Common name Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Court Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, Delegatura w Poznaniu Plaintiff(s) Prezes Urzędu Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów
Court translation The President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection, Delegature in Poznań Defendant(s) Internetq Poland sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Warsaw
Subject games of chance
Keywords aggressive commercial practicesblack listfalse impressiongames of chanceprizes



Headnote

The use of wording in communications sent to the participants of a lottery in a way that suggests the certainty of winning to those participants, while in fact the winners of the lottery are not known yet, constitutes an unfair commercial practice. 

Facts

The defendant is a limited liability company for which the business activity mainly consists of organizing lotteries.

On the basis of the permission issued by the director of the Customs Chamber in Warsaw, the defendant organized a lottery called "Empty Text Message". The condition for participation was to send an empty text message to the number indicated. 

The defendant reserved the right to send 6 communications per day to the lottery's participants, informing them on the possibilities to obtain additional points or bonuses. The wording of the communication by the defendant suggested that the recipient had already won the lottery, which needed to be confirmed by the consumer by responding to the communication of the defendant. 
 
In reality and in accordance with the conditions of the lottery, prizes were awarded on the basis of the draw. Moreover, it was stated in the conditions that the participants were to be informed about the results of the draw by means of a phone call, hence not by means of a text message.

Legal issue

Does the use of wording in communications sent to the participants of a lottery in a way that suggests the certainty of winning to those participants, constitute an unfair commercial practice? 

Decision

The President indicated that the activities of the defendant were addressed to a wide group of recipients, since such communications were provided to all consumers that were included in the database kept by the defendant. The wording of the communications used by the defendant towards the consumers unambiguously suggested that the recipient of the message was the winner. 

This impression was further strengthened by the fact that the communications were worded in such manner that it suggested they were coming directly from the defendant's authorities. The number of communications received by the consumer during one day equally increased the impression of possible award. 
 
The President stated that the defendant could not justify its behavior by referring to the fact that the regulation of the lottery provided detailed rules on the granting of awards. The average consumer expects the trader to transfer communications which are clear and unambiguous. The consumer has the right to understand such communications literally since the trader should be a reliable entity.
 
The President therefore concluded that the behaviour of the trader could distort the consumers' decisions relating to further participation in the lottery. 

  URL Decision Decision full text
EN N/A
PL http://decyzje.uokik.gov.pl/dec_prez.nsf/0/A49C9635B7C46E7BC125780E00375A1F/$file/Decyzja%20nr%20RPZ-30-2010%20z%2021%2012%202010%20-%20Internetq%20Poland%20Sp%20%20z%20o%20o%20%20-%20praktyka%20naruszaj_271ca%20ZIK.pdf

Result

The commercial practice was found to be unfair.

 
The President imposed a financial penalty on the defendant in the amount of PLN 499,650, paid to the state budget. 

Additional information

Date Description URL
There is no events for this case.

Related case(s)

National ID Common Name Subject Country Link type
There is no related cases for this case.

Legal Literature

Title Author
There is no Legal Literature for this case.