According to the decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority (Gazdasági Versenyhivatal, hereinafter GVH), Exch-Immo Kft. and Club Hotels Europe Ingatlanhasznosító Kft. misled consumers as regards to the offers they made in relation to the resale of the consumers’ timeshare rights. The GVH imposed fines amounting to a total of 41 million HUF (cca 126 thousand EUR) on the undertakings for the infringements.
Exch-Immo Kft. and Club Hotels Europe Kft., the latter of which in 2016 partially adopted the activities of Exch-Immo Kft., contacted and invited consumers owning timeshare rights to personal consultations from 1 January 2014. During the personal consultations the undertakings promised the consumers that they would facilitate the resale of the timeshare rights owned by the consumers on the condition that these consumers purchased a completely new timeshare right or other long-term holiday product.
In its decision the GVH concluded that the two undertakings, in co-operation with each other, had engaged in an unfair trading practice as
- Exch-Immo Kft. had falsely given the impression that the undertakings would effectively facilitate the resale of the consumers’ timeshare rights;
- both undertakings had falsely given the impression that their aim was the secondary sale of the timeshare rights
When imposing the fines the GVH took into account, as an aggravating circumstance, that the infringing commercial practice lasted relatively long time and that the targeted consumers could be considered as vulnerable. Furthermore, the GVH had regard to the repeated nature of the infringements concerning the secondary sale of timeshare rights, which has been carried out several times despite the publicly available practice of the Competition Council that has also been communicated via press releases. The GVH imposed the maximum level of fine that can be legally imposed on both of the undertakings in order to deter the undertakings subject to the proceeding and other undertakings from committing similar infringements. The two undertakings are severally liable for the payment of the fines.
The GVH has initiated several competition supervision procedures in recent years in order to investigate business practices and oral consultations regarding the resale of timeshare rights and it has also published awareness-raising information which is available here on its website. Further information of the GVH is available under the Think Through Calmly subheading.
Number of the case: VJ/38/2016.
Budapest, 25 May 2018
Hungarian Competition Authority