Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: Inšpektorát Slovenskej obchodnej inšpekcie v Banskej Bystrici, 28.07.2010 P/0221/06/10
    • Member State: Slovakia
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Administrative decision, first degree
    • Decision date: 28/07/2010
    • Court: Inspectorate of the Slovak Trade Inspection in Banská Bystrica Slovak Trade Inspection, Inspectorate with its registered seat in Banská Bystrica, Banská Bystrica region
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff:
    • Defendant: OKAY Slovakia, spol. s r. o., with registered seat at Krajná 86, 821 04 Bratislava
    • Keywords: average consumer, confusion, decision to purchase, guarantee, misleading commercial practices, misleading omissions
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 7, 2.
  • Headnote
    A "thirty-day money back guarantee" cannot impose the condition that the returned products are to be checked by an expert, because the consumer could then be held responsible for hidden defects that the appliance had even before the purchase. Imposing such condition is misleading towards consumers. 
  • Facts
    The defendant made a special offer to consumers, enabling them to return goods they bought within 30 days as of the day of purchase. The guarantee stated that "if the product does not meet your expectations, you can return it without stating the reason within 30 days as of the day of purchase and OKAY will reimburse you the money, provided that the goods are clean, not visibly used or damaged, in their original package, with unconfirmed certificate of guarantee".

    At the same time, it was stated that the guarantee does not apply to "products e.g. cell phones, digital cameras, cameras, computers, notebooks, ovens and cookers, where it cannot be determined on the spot whether they are damaged or modified by the customer, so that their condition will have to be checked by an authorized service provider. Some types of appliances require professional installation (ovens, car-radios). The consumer who fails to produce a confirmation evidencing professional installation looses the right of guarantee and cannot return the product. The guarantee to return the goods is subject to the consent of the customer with the payment for possible costs of product diagnostics."
  • Legal issue
    If a trader provides benefits for the consumer beyond the standard imposed by the law, it is not entitled to dictate conditions that are unacceptable or violate the law (in this case: making the return subject to an expert opinion or product diagnostics, so that the consumer could be held responsible for hidden defects that the appliance had even before the purchase). 

    Based on the text of the guarantee, the Slovak Trade Inspection found that the guarantee offered by the defendant was not to the benefit of the consumer, but on the contrary impaired the rights of the consumer. 

    Accordingly, this special offer constituted an unfair commercial practice, because it was found to be misleading and to confuse (or to be able to confuse) the average consumer. 
  • Decision

    Can a "thirty-day money back guarantee" impose the condition that the returned goods are to be checked by an external party? 

    Full text: Full text

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  • Result
    A fine in the amount of 330 EUR was imposed.