Unfair commercial practices (e.g. misleading advertising and aggressive business practices)

Updated last 26.03.2021

What is unfair business practice? [1]

Commercial practice of the trader towards a consumer is considered “unfair“, if it is in conflict with the requirement for fairness and professional competence and if it changes or it is possible to change substantially the economic behaviour of the average consumer, whom it affects or to whom it is directed, or the average member of the consumer group, when the commercial practice is focused on a specific group of consumers. Also, unfair are misleading and aggressive commercial practices.

What is a misleading commercial practice?

A commercial practice is misleading, when:

  • It contains untrue information and is misleading or when somehow, through its overall presentation, misleads the average consumer;
  • It leads or may lead the average consumer to make a commercial decision, which he would not otherwise make, without the use of the commercial practice, and when it includes:
  • Any marketing activity with regard to goods or services, creating confusion with other goods, services or other distinctive mark of a competitor;
  • Failing to fulfil the commitments, made by the trader by joining a good practice commercial code.

What are the types of misleading commercial practice?

The list of misleading commercial practices is included in art. 68zh of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), and a part thereof are the following practices of a trader:

  • Claiming to be a signatory to a code of good commercial practice without being such;
  • Displaying a certificate, a quality mark or an equivalent thereof without having obtained the necessary authorization;
  • Claiming that a particular code of good commercial practice has an endorsement from a public or other body which is not the case;
  • Claiming that a trader has been authorized to carry out a particular activity or that a specific product or service has been authorized, approved or licensed by a public or another body where the trader or product has not, or where the trader makes such a claim without complying with the terms whereunder the authorization, approval or issued license.

What is aggressive commercial practice?

A commercial practice is aggressive, when from its overall factual context and taking into consideration all its characteristics and circumstances, and due to the use of abuse, coercion, including use of physical force or abuse of power, such practice changes or may change substantially the freedom of choice or the behaviour of the average consumer with respect to the goods or service, which results or may result in making a commercial decision, which the average consumer would not make without the use of such commercial practice.

What are the types of aggressive commercial practice?

The list of aggressive commercial practices can be found in art. 68к of the CPA, and a part thereof are the following practices:

  • Creation of impression in the consumer that the said consumer cannot leave the premises until a contract is concluded;
  • Conducting personal visits to the consumer’s home by the trader ignoring the consumer’s explicit request to leave the premises or not to return except in the cases necessary for the trader to enforce a contractual obligation;
  • Including in an advertisement a direct exhortation to children to buy an advertised product or service or to persuade their parents or other adults to buy an advertised product or service for them.

What can be the consumer protection against unfair commercial practices?

In case of doubt that the commercial practice used is unfair, you may refer the matter to the Commission for Consumer Protection by filing a complaint.

Important to know
Important to know

If the Commission for Consumer Protection finds that the commercial practice is unfair, Commission’s chairman issues an Order, prohibiting the application of such commercial practice. When this order has entered in effect, because it has not been appealed within the legally set term or the appeal against it has been withdrawn, or it has been confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court, the consumer may cancel the contract with the trader, signed as a result of the unfair business practice and claim compensation from the court.

For more information
For more information For more information, please visit the website of the Commission for Consumer Protection.

[1] “commercial practice” is any action, inaction, conduct, commercial initiative or commercial message, including advertising and marketing, by the trader towards a consumer, which is directly related to the encouragement, sale or the delivery of goods or the provision of a service to the consumers.