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Press Statement 2012 -

OFT welcomes European Court of Justice ruling on misleading promotions

scratchcard

93/12    18 October 2012

Welcoming today's judgment, Jason Freeman, Legal Director of the OFT's Goods and Consumer Group, said:

'The European Court of Justice issued a ruling on the law today which confirms the OFT position that prizes must be genuine and not involve people being hit with additional costs to find out what they have won, or to claim it, or take possession of it. Specifically, the judgment makes it clear that it is not acceptable for businesses to hide behind providing one route to claim a prize that is free, if the other ways of claiming the prize incur a cost.

'Descriptions of prizes must also be clear so people understand what it is they are winning. But importantly, traders should not exploit the excitement consumers justifiably feel when told they have won a prize in order to make money'.

NOTES

  1. See more detail about the OFT's case against Purely Creative Limited.
  2. Purely Creative Limited has a registered office of Kings Buildings, Lydney, Gloucestershire, GL15 5HE. Strike Lucky Games Limited and McIntyre and Dodd Marketing Limited, and the Winners Club Limited have the same registered office of Green Heys, Walford Road, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 5DB. 
  3. High Court judgment against the companies and its officers (Adrian John Williams, a common director of all the companies, and Wendy Elaine Ruck, the common secretary, as well as Catherine Cummings a second director of Purely Creative Limited, and Peter Jude Henry, a previous director of The Winners Club Limited) was made February 2011.
  4. The CPRs came into force on 26 May 2008 implementing the EC Directive on unfair commercial practices. The CPRs prohibit unfair commercial practices which distort consumers' decisions. They introduce a general duty not to trade unfairly on businesses dealing with consumers. They prohibit misleading consumers by action or omission. They also contain prohibitions against aggressive practices, as well as 31 specific practices that are always considered unfair. The relevant practice states that 'Creating the false impression that the consumer has already won, will win, or will on doing a particular act win, a prize or other equivalent benefit, when in fact either (a) there is no prize or other equivalent benefit, or (b) taking any action in relation to claiming the prize or other equivalent benefit is subject to the consumer paying money or incurring a cost', is prohibited. 




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