The Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, hereinafter GVH) has initiated an investigation in relation to the TV show “Ékszer”, which is broadcast by several TV channels. It is alleged that the sales methods employed on the show amount to an infringement of the prohibition of unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices.
The GVH received several complaints regarding the show. After assessing the complaints, the GVH decided to initiate a competition supervision proceeding against the producer of the show, Emporia Style Kft. Within the framework of the proceeding the GVH will examine whether:
the undertaking has actually, on any occasion, sold the advertised pieces of jewellery at their stated, full original prices or whether the stipulated discounted prices have always in fact been applied, thereby resulting in false advertising;
the products actually possess the stipulated characteristics (e.g. “the blessing of the Pope”);
consumers calling into the live show can in fact influence what happens on the show- i.e. if the prices and the stocks of the products are actually influenced by the participation of consumers, or if consumers are in reality only watching a previously scripted and recorded show; and
consumers were forced to make immediate decisions, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to make well-established decisions, as a result of statements claiming that the advertised products would only be available for a limited period of time and that the stocks of the products at the discounted prices were continuously decreasing.
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/33/2018.
Budapest, 05 October 2018
Hungarian Competition Authority