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27 03 2008

Having in its meeting examined and assessed the findings of the completed investigation the Competition Council recognised to constitute an instance of misleading advertising the statement „Elektromarkt – the largest in the Baltic States“ published by UAB Elektromarktas. For the infringement of the requirements of the Law on Advertising UAB Elektromarktas was subjected to an administrative sanction – the warning, also the company was obligated to terminate the use of the misleading advertising, i.e., to eliminate from its advertising the statement that has been recognised as misleading in case the actions were still continued.

The investigation was started in response to the application received from UAB Topo centras. The applicant claimed and pointed out that it was not clear on what basis and guided by what criteria UAB Elektromarktas was using the advertising statement „Elektromarkt – the largest in the Baltic States“ that tends to create an impression that this is the largest company engaged in the retail sale of video, audio, photography, communications equipment, and household appliances.

Having performed the investigation concerning the advertising statement „Elektromarkt – the largest in the Baltic States“ used in the course of the advertising campaign and published in a range of communications means in the period from late March 2007 until present, the Competition Council resolved that the statement is not correct, it has a potential to mislead the consumer and affect his behaviour in selection of the household appliances, radio and television equipment trade network. In the opinion of the Competition Council an undertaking, using the advertising statements that may be reasonably perceived by the advertising users in more than one sense, must be in possession of evidence substantiating the correctness of the statements in all possible meanings that may be possibly perceived by the advertising users. In this specific case the usage of the adjective "the largest“ in the superlative, and having not, by the advertising provider submitted any criteria by which Elektromarkt is the largest, may prompt to the customer that the trading centre is largest by all criteria.

The data analysed for the purpose of the investigation showed that starting from end of July 2007 the trade network Elektromarkt has been offering to its customers a larger variety of goods, while Topo centras runs a larger number of trade outlets. Such differences between the two companies are not essential. When selecting a trade centre marketing household appliances an advertising user should conclude that trade networks Elektromarkt and Topo centras are both one of the largest; however, none of them has a legitimate basis to claim to be the "the largest" household equipment and electronic goods trade network in Lithuania or the Baltic States.

Competition Council Spokesperson