The Federal Act amending the 1984 Federal Act against Unfair Competition (2007), which regulates sales promotion, implements the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD).
A commercial practice is misleading where it contains false information or is otherwise likely to deceive a market participant in relation to the price of a product or the manner in which the price is calculated, or the existence of a specific price advantage, in such a way that causes him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise.
Specific sales promotion practices that are considered misleading are:
- Bait advertising: making an invitation to purchase a product that will not be available;
- Special offers: falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time or on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision of the consumer and to deprive him from the opportunity to make an informed choice;
- Competition or prize promotion: claiming to offer a competition or prize promotion without awarding the prizes described or a reasonable equivalent.
- Free products: describing a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge” or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.
Specific sales promotion practices that are considered aggressive are:
- Prize competitions: creating the false impression that the consumer has already won or will win a prize or other equivalent benefit, when in fact there is no prize or other equivalent benefit, or the claiming of the prize is subject to the consumer paying money or incurring a cost in excess of standard postal and telephone charges.