RIMI LIETUVA UAB INFRINGES THE ADVERTISING LAW – THE COMPETITION COUNCIL ISSUES A WARNING
In its regular meeting having assessed the findings of the completed investigation and having heard the explanations offered, the Competition council, passed the decision concerning the advertising statements published by RIMI LIETUVA UAB. The statements published by RIMI LIETUVA UAB illustrated by pictures of cash receipts of the store were recognised to constitute comparative advertising in violation of Article 6 of the Law on Advertising of the Republic of Lithuania. The advertising statement challenged ran as follows: “Others blow up and explode their prices ... we work all year round so that by us you could shop cheaper. No swollen prices! Prices on RIMI cash receipts ... valid in all RIMI and RIMI HYPERMARKET trade centres“. Having considered the small significance of the advertising statements the Competition Council issued a warning to the advertising provider RIMI LIETUVA UAB for the use of prohibited comparative advertising.
The investigation was performed on the basis of the information submitted to the Competition Council by MAXIMA LT UAB. On 13 November 2007, RIMI LIETUVA UAB in some national and regional dailies published several statements of comparative advertising in which the prices in the trade network managed by MAXIMA were compared with the prices in the RIMI trade network. Comparative advertising is permitted to the extent it complies with the requirements defined in this respect in the Law on Advertising, the most important of which requires the advertising be not misleading.
Having performed the investigation the Competition Council established that the statements of comparative advertising published by RIMI LIETUVA UAB were inaccurate and might mislead the consumers, affect their economic behaviour when selecting a retail trade network, since RIMI LIETUVA UAB was not able to provide any confirmation that the prices indicated in cash receipts of the store are valid in all RIMI and RIMI HYPERMARKET trade centres.
In the opinion of the Competition Council, the advertising material comparing the prices of individual items shown on cash receipts from RIMI and MAXIMA and the general price level, as well as the image of three virtually identical girls blowing booble gum (a reference to the advertising campaign by MAXIMA) are neither compliant with the requirements of the Law on Advertising. Such method of presentation of the advertising statements has a potential to form an opinion among the consumers that the advertising essentially compares the MAXIMA and RIMI trade centres by suggesting that some trade centres "blow up” and “explode” their prices, while RIMI works all year long so that the consumers could shop at them cheaper.Competition Council Spokesperson