Finnish Consumer Ombudsman applies for leave to appeal Market Court ruling on inappropriate promotional game

In January 2014, the Finnish Market Court dismissed the Consumer Ombudsman’s request concerning a promotional campaign game. The Consumer Ombudsman finds the Market Court ruling problematic and inconsistent in certain respects and has applied to the Supreme Court for a leave to appeal it.

SCA Tissue Finland Oy, which manufactures kitchen towels, paper tissues and toilet paper under the brand name Lotus, organised a draw to promote the sales of their kitchen towels an other products in summer 2012.The main prize of the draw was EUR 100,000, and the likelihood of winning it was one in 2.4 billion.

In the view of the Consumer Ombudsman, the draw was clearly the most attractive and prominent part of the marketing campaign. In addition, the manner in which the information provided in the campaign was presented gave the consumers a completely unrealistic idea of their possibilities of winning.

In its ruling of 31 January 2014, the Market Court found that the campaign did not influence consumers aggressively, nor did the methods used go against generally accepted good business practices.

The Consumer Ombudsman considers a leave to appeal vital in this matter. If the Market Court ruling stands, it may be difficult to apply the Consumer Protection Act provision on aggressive practices to other promotional games or cases about marketing additional benefits in the future. The Market Court ruling is also inconsistent with the established case law practice according to which additional benefits may not dominate an advertisement.

Read more:
Market Court: Promotional campaign game did not use aggressive methods to influence consumers, press release of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, 14 February 2014