The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal – GVH) has initiated a competition proceeding against Hermina Center Ingatlanforgalmazó Kft. (Hermina Center Housing Company) due to an alleged infringement of the prohibition of unfair commercial practices against consumers.
The GVH initiated a competition supervision proceeding against Hermina Center Ingatlanforgalmazó Kft. (hereinafter: Hermina) on 19 October 2018 after receiving numerous market signals concerning the undertaking. These market signals related to both the alleged unfair commercial communication practices of the undertaking, and to conducts which supported a number of on-going civil law disputes not belonging to the competence of the GVH.
Since May 2016 the undertaking in question has been giving the impression that the real estates appearing on its social media platform and website through the use of textual and visual content, represent the actual real estates marketed by the firm; furthermore, this impression has also been extended to the services and construction-fitting options displayed in connection with these real estates. On the basis of the information available to the GVH, it seems likely that Hermina has been using photos, figures, and floor maps that do not relate to the real estates from its own sale portfolio, but which in fact concern other buildings that do not belong to its portfolio.
Additionally, the GVH is of the opinion that it is also likely that Hermina failed to meet the requirements of professional diligence when it removed all of the negative comments relating to its services and commercial communications from its social media platform and only displayed highly complimentary comments.
Furthermore, the GVH noticed that Hermina markets its real estates as passive houses when in fact it seems likely that these properties do not meet the requirements of passive houses.
The initiation of the competition supervision proceeding does not mean that the undertaking in question has in fact committed the alleged infringement. The aim of the proceeding is to clarify the facts and to demonstrate the alleged infringement. The time frame for the proceeding is three months, which in justified cases may be extended twice by two months each time.
Case number: Vj/38/2018.
Budapest, 9 November 2018
Hungarian Competition Authority