BIASED COMPARISON OF SERVICE PRICES IN ADVERTISEMENTS
Having analysed the findings of the conducted investigation and upon hearing the explanations presented by the parties concerned the Competition Council passed a decision concerning the advertisement published by AB “Lietuvos dujos”. The Competition Council concluded that advertising statements published in the publications “Daugiau nei šiluma” (“More than just heat”) (2002) and “Gamtines dujos: geriausias pasirinkimas” (“Natural gas: best choice”) (2003) represented the prohibited comparative advertising on the basis of failure to comply with the terms under which the comparative advertising is considered permitted. A fine in the amount of LTL 5,000 was imposed on AB “Lietuvos dujos” for the use of the prohibited comparative advertising. The amount of the fine was established having taken into account the circumstances extenuating the liability of the provider of the advertisements it having of its own accord discontinued the use of the prohibited comparative advertising.
The investigation was initiated on the basis of the complaint lodged by UAB “Vilniaus energija”. AB “Lietuvos dujos” published and had been distributing publications containing information on the commercial-economic activity of the company, - trading in gas. Some information contained in the publications was presented in the manner as to induce consumers to buy gas because of the alleged advantages of natural gas as the source of heat and hot water as compared to other sources of heat and hot water. The publications were promoting the services placing them in terms of indirect comparison with those provided by UAB “Vilniaus energija” - competitor of the provider of the advertisement AB “Lietuvos dujos”. The investigation established that the advertisements represented a biased comparison of the prices of a unit of heat and that of warming up a cubic meter of water, as well as contained other statements which by the Competition Council were recognised as prohibited comparative advertising.Competition Council Spokesperson