Unfair advertising - what should an entrepreneur know about it?
Advertising is designed to encourage a potential buyer to purchase a good or service, or at least to get acquainted with the entrepreneur's offer. It may be neutral and refer only to the advantages of the seller's products, however, there are advertisements on the market that somehow depreciate other entrepreneurs in the industry or otherwise violate the law and good merchant manners. Do you know what unfair advertising is?
Unfair advertising - concept
Unfair advertising is invariably related to the definition of an act of unfair competition and is defined by the provisions of the Act on Combating Unfair Competition. According to Art. 16 of the aforementioned legal act:
Art. 16. 1. An act of unfair competition in the field of advertising is in particular:
1) advertising contrary to the provisions of law, morality or offending human dignity;
2) advertising that misleads the customer and may therefore influence his decision as to the purchase of goods or services;
3) advertising referring to the feelings of customers by causing fear, using superstition or credulity of children;
4) statement which, while encouraging the purchase of goods or services, gives the impression of neutral information;
5) advertising, which constitutes a significant interference in the sphere of privacy, in particular by inconvenient inquiries in public places, sending unsolicited goods at the customer's expense or abuse of technical means of communication (...).
In addition to the above-mentioned types of unfair advertising, the legislator also indicates another type of unfair marketing activities - comparative advertising.
Types of unfair advertising
Below, we will briefly discuss the types of unfair advertising.
Advertising contrary to the law, decency or offending human dignity
As advertising contrary to the law, decency or offending human dignity, we can define a marketing activity that - as the name suggests - violates the law (e.g. incites hatred, refers to Nazi symbols), violates commonly accepted patterns of behavior (e.g. dazzles with nudity) or clearly violates human dignity (for example, contains sexist or racist content, offends certain communities or an individual).
An advertisement that misleads the customer and may therefore influence the customer's decision to purchase a good or service
This type of unfair advertising is characterized primarily by the fact that it causes the customer to mistakenly believe that the advertised product or a specific offer has features that are particularly attractive or distinguishable from other products on the market, but in reality it is not true. This can be seen in the decision of the President of the Protection Office
Konkurencji i Konsumentów in Poznań No. RZ 14/2014 on promotion in Vision Express optical stores. The TV ad suggested that when buying one pair of glasses, the next two buyers would get for free, but in reality the buyer who used Vision Express services for the first time had only a small discount, and long-term customers could buy another glasses with a larger one. discount. The President of UOKiK in Poznań classified the advertisement as an act of unfair competition, stating that: While there is no doubt as to the fact that an advertisement may exaggerate or hyperbolize certain product features, it should be emphasized that informative cannot be untrue.
Advertising referring to the feelings of customers
Advertising referring to the feelings of customers does this especially by arousing fear in them, using superstition or credulity of children.
This type of unfair advertising must have a clear impact on customers - whether it is violent, drastic or, on the contrary, that appeals to other feelings, such as compassion. It is also particularly unacceptable to target an advertisement at children, especially if it suggests that the advertised item has features that it does not actually boast of (for example, a toy advertised on TV talks and plays actively with the child, but in fact it is simply ordinary mascot).
Advertising that constitutes a significant interference in the sphere of privacy
Advertising activities interfering with privacy do this in particular by inconveniently harassing customers in public places, sending unsolicited goods at the customer's expense or abusing technical means of communication.
The easiest way to define such unfair advertising is spam, but also intrusive handing out leaflets or aggressive telemarketing.