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Case Details

Case Details
National ID 2S-25
Member State Lithuania
Common Name link
Decision type Administrative decision, first degree
Decision date 28/10/2010
Court Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania (Vilnius)
Subject
Plaintiff
Defendant UAB Laidotva
Keywords black list, misleading commercial practices

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Annex I, 4.

Advertising the provision of services which are subject to a mandatory license, whereas in reality the advertising trader does not hold such a license, constitutes a commercial practice which in all circumstances is considered unfair.
The defendant, offering funeral services, was advertised in a directory, accessible online via www.118.lt.

The defendant's name, address, etc. could be found by clicking on the keyword “funeral parlour” in the directory.

According to Lithuanian law, providing such services is subject to a license. The defendant did not hold such license.

 
The Competition Council first concluded that the defendant’s advertising in regional newspapers stating that it provides the cheapest funeral services in the region was misleading under the regulation which was already in place before introduction of the unfair commercial practices regulation. Secondly, the Competition Council referred to the misleading advertising regulation which provides that advertising shall be in all circumstances considered misleading if it falls within the blacklist of the unfair commercial practices.

The Competition Council noted that it is not necessary to prove actual or likely impact of unfair commercial practices falling within the blacklist on economic behaviour of consumers.

Hence, in order to consider advertising misleading, it is sufficient to prove that (i) certain information given is in fact advertising, (ii) a trader has made such advertising, and (iii) the advertising falls within the blacklist of unfair commercial practices.

Finally, the Competition Council referred to the defendant’s advertising at the web directory www.118.lt where “funeral parlour” was used as a keyword describing the defendant’s services. It was noted that according to the Rules on Licensing Funeral Services approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania providing a funeral parlour requires a license. The investigation revealed that the defendant did not hold such license. Therefore, the Council held, it was clear that the defendant had violated the provision of the black list prohibiting falsely claiming that a trader has been granted a licence.

 
Does the advertisement of the provision of services which are subject to a mandatory license, whereas in reality the trader does not hold such a license, constitute a commercial practice which in all circumstances is considered unfair?
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Taking into account that the misleading advertising did not cause substantial damage to consumers, only an official warning was imposed on the defendant. It was also obliged to cease the advertising and to publicize an official denial thereof.