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Vodafone to refund several million forints to the subscribers of RED VitaMAX as a result of the GVH’s procedure

The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) approved the commitments undertaken by Vodafone Magyarország Zrt. In accordance with the submitted commitments, Vodafone will reimburse the balances that were deleted due to a change of tariff to those subscribers who switched between 1 November 2012 and 1 May 2014 to RED VitaMAX tariffs from their previous tariff packages.

The GVH in its competition supervision proceeding investigated whether Vodafone had infringed the provisions of the Act on the Prohibition of Unfair Commercial Practices against Consumers through its advertisements promoting RED VitaMAX tariffs, as these advertisements did not make it clear that the 30-day balance usage period, which is much shorter than the average, applies not only to balances after a change of tariff but also to previously accumulated outstanding balances. The company undertook to refund the deleted outstanding balances to all of those customers who were disadvantaged by the above-mentioned rule, provided the balances of the customers exceeded the amount of HUF 100 and they are still subscribers of Vodafone.

The GVH – without establishing the existence or non-existence of an infringement – accepted the commitments of Vodafone, as it considered that through the fulfilment of these commitments the affected consumers could be fully compensated. The reimbursement of amounts less than HUF 100 was considered unessential due to the minor disadvantage that would be suffered and the administrative burden it would impose. Furthermore, the compensation of non-Vodafone subscribers – due to the difficulty to find the previous subscribers and their negligible number – was not sufficiently justified. As no infringement was established, the GVH did not impose a fine on the company.

Case number: Vj/15/2018.

18 December 2018, Budapest

Hungarian Competition Authority

 

Information for the press:
sajto@gvh.hu
http://www.gvh.hu

Further information:
GVH Customer Service:

Phone:  (+36-1) 472-8851
E-mail:
http://www.gvh.hu

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The GVH is also investigating the online dating site Academic Singles

The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) has extended its competition supervision proceeding against be2, to the market practices of academicsingles.hu site, which is also operated by be2.

The GVH initiated competition supervision proceedings against be2 S.à.r.l.-al (be2) in July 2018. The GVH is investigating several aspects of the behaviour of be2 in relation to services offered on the website www.be2.hu, which have given rise to the suspicion of the existence of unfair commercial practices against consumers.

Based on market indications, the GVH is now also investigating whether the operation of the online dating site www.academicsingles.hu, which is operated by be2, constitutes unfair commercial practices.

The GVH, among others, is investigating

  • whether the website does in fact provide the services offered on its website free of charge or whether members only have restricted access to these services for free;

  • whether the average consumer is reasonably likely to notice the information relating to the automatic extension of the premium subscription and the applicable fee during the extended period;

  • the manner in which the concerned undertaking employs anonymous or pseudonym profiles which are created by the undertaking itself and which do not belong to real users, and whether it appropriately informs consumers about the employment of this practice;

  • whether information necessary to enable a realistic evaluation of its service is provided on its website – through the publication in an understandable manner of its General Terms and Conditions (GTCs) – thereby enabling consumers to make an informed decision;

  • whether its communication employed in relation to the termination of the contract for the use of the service results in an unfair commercial practice due to the fact that

- while the use of the service is possible after only a few clicks, the termination must conform to formal requirements (e.g. the consumer may only terminate the contract in a valid way by sending a declaration of termination by post or via fax to an address abroad);

- the contradictory commercial communication relating to the deadline for termination imposes an unreasonable burden on the consumer as regards to the need to search for this information;

- the display of the possible alternative choices is uneven (e.g. the option for deleting the user’s profile is displayed separately from other options, in a different location).

The initiation of the competition supervision proceeding does not mean that the undertaking in question has actually committed an infringement. The proceeding seeks to clarify the facts and to prove that the presumed infringement has been committed. The GVH must conclude the proceeding within 3 months; however, this time limit can be extended two times by a maximum of 2 months, respectively, depending on the complexity of the case.

The information made available earlier by the GVH on the dangers of online dating services may be accessed on the Authority’s website here (the page is only available in Hungarian). Further notices of the GVH’s campaign entitled “Think Through Calmly” are available (in Hungarian only) under the Think Through Calmly menu.

The press release related to the international Sweep Day initiated and coordinated by the ICPEN at the beginning of 2018, under the framework of which the GVH screened the General Terms and Conditions of online dating services, can be accessed here.

Case number: Vj/19/2018.

Budapest, 11 December 2018

Hungarian Competition Authority

 

Information for the press:
sajto@gvh.hu
http://www.gvh.hu

Further information:
GVH Customer Service:

Phone:  (+36-1) 472-8851
E-mail:
http://www.gvh.hu

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Substantial reduction of fine to be imposed on a pharmaceutical undertaking due to cooperation with the GVH

The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, hereinafter GVH) found that Bayer Hungária Kft. had misled consumers when promoting its “Berocca” products. When imposing a fine for the established infringement, the GVH did, however, take into account both the undertaking’s acknowledgement of the infringement and its compliance efforts.

According to the decision of the GVH, the commercials of Bayer Hungária Kft concerning the non-prescription medicine “Berocca Performance” and the food supplement tablet “Berocca effervescent” were misleading and contained information that was not compliant with sectoral regualtions. The GVH imposed a fine of HUF 95 million (approx. EUR 280000) on the undertaking.

Based on the findings of the GVH, in its commercials relating to the effervescent tablet the undertaking made claims that went beyond the actual and proven effects of the product (e.g. “energetic day”, “maximum achievement”) that are permissible under Community law. Furthermore, the exact component allegedly giving rise to the stated improvement in performance was not specified. As regards to the non-prescription medicine “Berocca Performance”, the GVH objected to the fact that the product category to which it belonged was not indicated. Additionally, the claim made in the commercial that the product was effective within a short period of time was not in line with the product characteristics, which stated that it took four weeks to be effective.

While in its decision the GVH referred to the fact that it is not forbidden to operate using an umbrella brand under which various categories of products can be offered, it also stated that undertakings must pay attention to which product(s) are covered by certain commercial communications and the content and manner in which they are displayed. It is a requirement that adequate information is provided in relation to all products.

The GVH is empowered to significantly reduce the fine imposed on an undertaking if it has acknowleged its infringement, carried out proactive reparation or elaborated a leniency programme plan. Having regard to the undertaking’s partial acknowledgement of the infringement and its already executed compliance efforts, the GVH reduced the fine that would have originally been imposed if the mitigating circumstances had not been taken into account by more than fifty percent.

Number of the case: VJ/82/2016

Budapest, 10 December 2018

Hungarian Competition Authority

Information for the press:
sajto@gvh.hu
http://www.gvh.hu

Further information:
GVH Customer Service:
Phone: (+36-1) 472-8851
E-mail:
http://www.gvh.hu

Printable version in PDF

Investigation concerning the notification of Közép-Európai Sajtó és Média Alapítvány has been terminated due to a lack of competence to proceed

The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) will not be initiating competition supervision proceedings on the basis of the notification of Közép-Európai Sajtó és Média Alapítvány, as the Government has declared the transaction to be of national strategic importance.

On 5 December 2018 the Government declared, in the public interest, the direct and sole acquisition of control of Közép-Európai Sajtó és Média Alapítványnak over Opus Press Zrt., Echo Hungária TV Televíziózási, Kommunikációs és Szolgáltató Zrt., New Wave Media Group Kommunikációs és Szolgáltató Kft. and Magyar Idők Kiadó Kft. to be of national strategic importance.

Concentrations, which are considered to be of national strategic importance, do not fall within the scope of Act LVII of 1996 on the Prohibition of Unfair and Restrictive Market Practices. Consequently, in the absence of circumstances giving rise to the initiation of competition supervision proceedings, the GVH has terminated the examination of the notification by issuing an official certificate.

Case Number: B/961/2018.

Budapest, 6 December 2018

Hungarian Competition Authority

 

Information for the press:
sajto@gvh.hu
http://www.gvh.hu

Further information:
GVH Customer Service
Tel: (+36-1) 472-8851
E-mail:
http://www.gvh.hu

 Printable version in PDF


Interior Decorators restrict competition

The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, GVH) found that the Royalty Rules developed by the Lakberendezők Országos Szövetség (National Association of Interior Decorators) restricted price competition among Interior decorators. In addition to establishing an infringement, the Authority obliged the Association to implement a complex education, information and compliance programmes.

The National Association of Interior Decorators (Association of Interior Decorators) adopted the Royalty Rules regarding the rates of the standard prices, the method of calculating the prices, methodology and structure of the prices in the interior decoration industry, and then from time to time reviewed the set prices. The members of the Association of Interior Decorators were considered to have committed an ethical offence if they disregarded the rules on prices and could lose membership as a result of such conduct.

According to the findings of the GVH, the Royalty Rules restricted economic competition and were therefore unlawful. Consequently, the GVH obliged the Association of Interior Decorators to integrate the free determination of remuneration into its code of ethics and to inform its members immediately that its prior price regulation was unlawful. The Association of Interior Decorators must also disclose the GVH’s decision at professional conferences and on its website. Additionally, the decision obliges the Association of Interior Decorators to provide information on competition law and to provide education to its members in the framework of a training programme. The Association of Interior Decorators must also elaborate a so-called compliance programme in order to ensure that its future operation complies with the applicable competition laws and standards.

The GVH has already emphasised to  the chambers and the social organizations representing the interests of the economic actors bringing their operations, ethical rules and other self-regulatory activities into line with the competition rules. Decisions that restrict price competition (recommended or professional minimum prices, alignment of price increases), and decisions that result in the territorial or other division of the market, are contrary to both Hungarian and EU rules prohibiting anti-competitive behaviour.

Case number: Vj-73/2014

Budapest, 30 November 2018

Hungarian Competition Authority

Information for the press:
sajto@gvh.hu
http://www.gvh.hu

Further information:
GVH Customer Service
Tel: (+36-1) 472-8851
E-mail:
http://www.gvh.hu

Printable version in PDF

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The notification of a concentration can now also be filed electronically

Pursuant to Article 43/J (1) of the Hungarian Competition Act, the form for the notification of a concentration published on the website of the Hungarian Competition Authority (“Gazdasági Versenyhivatal” hereinafter: GV) may be submitted electronically.

A notification of a concentration can be filed electronically on the customised platform (Személyreszabott Ügyintézési Felület, SZÜF) of the governmental website using the electronic iForm application filing programme. In case of electronic submission the notification form shall be attached to the iForm application form.

The iForm programme can be accessed on SZÜF: HERE (available only in Hungarian)

The GVH emphasises that the size of the enclosed files in the iForm programme cannot exceed 20MB. If the attachment exceeds 20MB the notification of a concentration can only be filed in person or via postal services.

Further assistance concerning the electronic filing system can be downloaded in PDF format: HERE

Please note that this document is available on our webpage for information purposes only and the notification of a concentration can be submitted only in Hungarian (see here).


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