It is prohibited to provide false or misleading information in marketing and consumer relationships, if said information is likely to result in a consumer making a purchasing or other decision relating to goods or services that he or she would not have made without the information provided.
Even if the information as such is correct, it may not be provided if the overall impression formed is misleading.
Examples of misleading information include
- packaging a product in an overly large packet, out of all proportion to the size of the product, even if correct information about the size of the product is given on the packaging.
- misleading headlines or images in advertising, even though the correct information is given in the text itself.
A practice may be considered misleading and thus prohibited even if the trader had complied with the requirements of professional diligence. Such cases include those in which the information provided in marketing is false, regardless of the trader having acted with diligence, and said information being likely to influence the consumer's decision.
False or misleading information about a product or service may involve many factors, including:
- the existence, availability, type, description, quantity and other key features
- the origin, manufacturing method and -time, use and impacts of use, and the results of tests performed
- the price or grounds for determining the price, specific price advantages (such as discounts and loyalty benefits) and payment terms
- the delivery time and other delivery terms.
For instance, it is misleading to market a long-term product subscription in such a manner that the consumer is given the impression that he or she has only ordered a free, one-off sample.
False or misleading information may also involve:
- the nature of the sales method (such as a closing down and clearance sale), after-sales customer service and the processing of customer complaints
- the need for and availability of service, repairs and spare parts
- the trader's or its representative's identity, contact information, characteristics, market position and the prizes and distinctions awarded to them
- the trader's rights and obligations, including the commitment to comply with the obligations included in the applicable codes of practice
- the consumer's rights, obligations and risks.