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pl_Case Details

pl_Case Details
pl_National ID Decision no. DDK-2/2013
Państwo członkowskie Polska
pl_Common Name Decision no. DDK-2/2013
pl_Decision type pl_Administrative decision, first degree
pl_Decision date 02/05/2013
Sąd Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów
Temat
Powód/powódka The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection
Pozwany/Pozwana “Samsung Electronics Polska” sp. z o.o. with its registered office in Warsaw
Słowa kluczowe administrative authority, advertisement, confusion, elderly, endorsement, false impression, misleading advertising, sponsorship, vulnerable consumer

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 6, 1., (c)

It is an unfair commercial practice to launch an advertisement campaign that resembles the social campaign carried out by an official government institution.
The defendant is a distributor of electronic devices, including TV sets.

The proceedings concerned the advertisement campaign of TV sets launched by the defendant which resembled the social campaign carried out by the Ministry of Administration and Digitization in which certain crucial information related to the introduction of digital television.

The campaign carried out by the defendant used certain features characteristic for the social campaign, including an old lady wearing glasses as the main character, similar dialogues, labelling the packaging of the TV with a similar sign (to the sign promotion digital television).

Therefore, the consumers could actually consider the products offered by the defendant as falling within the scope of the social campaign and thus, recommended by the Ministry.  
Is it an unfair commercial practice to launch an advertisement campaign that resembles the social campaign carried out by an official government institution?
The President of the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection initiated the subject proceedings following a complaint that it received from the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. The contested advertisement campaign was carried out through different means and was aimed to reach a significant group of consumer willing to purchase TV sets.

The President found out that an average consumer who was able to differentiate between the campaign carried out by the Ministry and the defendant’s campaign may have got an impression that the products offered by the defendant are particularly attractive in the context of the ongoing process of introduction of digital television.

Moreover, the President noted that the social campaign led by the Ministry was mainly addressed to people to whom the introduction of the digital television system could be most troublesome (i.e. the elderly, inhabitants of villages and small cities and the uneducated). These groups of people could be at the same time mainly harmed by the advertisement campaign led by the defendant as they are characterized with a significant level of trust and trustworthiness.

Additionally, the defendant violated good commercial practices by using features characteristic for the social campaign which might have created an impression to the consumers that the products offered by the defendant are to some extent interrelated to the digitization of television services in Poland and thus, are recommended by the governmental entities responsible for the process.

Due to all of the reasons stated above, the President found that the advertisement means used by the defendant could distort the consumers' behaviour.  
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The commercial practice was found to be unfair.

The President confirmed that the defendant had already stopped using the contested practice.

The President imposed on the defendant a financial penalty paid to the state budget, in the amount of PLN 2,288,665.