New decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority in the case of misleading of consumers2021. January 14.
In February 2021 the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) published a new decision in which it imposed a penalty of HUF 6 million on a wholesale and a regional service company.
Infringement of the Companies
The Companies did not clearly indicate that their advertised products were medical aids which are also qualified as medical devices, furthermore, they did not use the warning text required by the Minister of Health Decree No. 3/2009 (II. 25.), as well as their communication did not contain a clear call to read the instructions for use of the product, thus, they infringed the provisions of the Medicine Act (Gyftv.) and the Minister of Health Decree and they have conducted commercial practice against consumers, which is qualified as unfair.
The Companies presented their products in television advertisements, in press, also promoted by point-of-sale advertising equipment (wobbler/shelf marker, shelf tray, shelf divider). They did not take into consideration that the aim and the impact of the advertisements, the implementation of the communication was to attract the attention of women with mild incontinence, and this group of consumers is inhibited, frustrated by their condition.
Decision of the GVH
The Companies acknowledged the infringement, they have discontinued and modified the infringing commercial practice, and they declared that a compliance program had been developed and implemented specifically for medical devices and medical aids which are also qualified as medical devices.
The Companies within the frame of a compliance program undertook that they would place a link to the provisional part of the decision on their website, they would update the internal information material on medical devices and medical aids which are also qualified as medical devices, they would provide regular training for employees and cooperating advertising agencies, they would draw the attention of partners to the fact that during the promotion a warning text and reference to the instructions for use are mandatory, as well as, they would enter into a donation agreement with the Hungarian Food Bank Association.
The competition council acting in the case did not accept the public interest offer, furthermore, it did not require the Companies to fulfil the above commitments, nor it took compliance commitments into account as further reductions in fines, as their commitments compared to the measures and obligations already implemented did not add value.
The Companies cooperated in the competition supervision proceeding. They voluntary provided evidence. The Companies clarified the circumstances of the infringement and did not dispute the facts. They withdrew their legal position.
The competition council acting in the case decided the reduction of the penalty by altogether 50%.