Sales promotion is regulated in Romania by the Law on the Fight against the Unfair Practices of traders in their relations with consumers (2007) and the Law Approving Government Ordinance No. 99/2000 on selling merchandise and services on the market (2002).
A commercial practice shall be regarded as misleading if it contains false information or in any way, including overall presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer, to such an extent that, according to both assumptions, either causes or is likely to cause him to take a transactional decision that he would not have taken otherwise in relation to the price or the manner in which the price is calculated, or the existence of a specific price advantage, even if the information is factually correct.
The following are misleading sales promotion commercial practices considered unfair in all circumstances:
- Bait advertising: making an invitation to purchase products at a specified price without the trader disclosing the existence of any reasonable grounds he may have for believing that he will not be able to offer himself or by way of another trader, those products or similar products at the same price for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable having regard to the product, the scale of advertising of the product and the price offered.
- In the case of special offers: falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of other possibilities or of sufficient time in order to be able to make an informed choice.
- In the case of competition or prize promotion: claiming in a commercial practice to organise a competition or prize promotion without awarding the prizes, as promised, or a reasonable equivalent.
- In the case of free products: describing a product as “free”, “without charge” or similar if the consumer must pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and paying for the delivery or collection of the product.
- In the case of prize competition: creating the false impression that the consumer has already won, will win, or will on doing a particular act win, a prize or other equivalent benefit, when in fact there is no prize or other equivalent benefit; or taking possession of the prize or of another equivalent benefit is subject to the customer paying money or incurring a cost.
The Law Approving Government Ordinance No. 99/2000 on selling merchandise and services on the market lays down, inter alia, that:
- Any announcement or any other form of publicity of sell-out must be very specific on the date when the sell-out starts and on how much time it will last, as well as on the assortment of merchandise to be sold out, if the operation does not refer to the overall products contained in the respective shopping facility.
- Clearance sales may only be conducted two times a year for a maximum 45 days each, provided that the merchandise subject to such clearance sale is fully purchased from the supplier by at least 30 days before the first date of the clearance sales period and put out for regular sale before that date. It is forbidden to advertise clearance sales in circumstances and conditions different from the ones aforementioned.
Any announcement or any other form of advertisement referring to the clearance sale must indicate the first day and the duration of the sale, as well as the assortment of merchandise available for such sale, if it is not all of the products available in the respective shopping facility that must be cleared.
- Low-price sales, which involves a comparison expressed in figures, are subject to the following rules based on which they must be set and advertised:
- Any merchant that announces a reduction in prices must present it against the regular price charged in the same sales area for identical products or services. The price so reduced must be inferior to the regular price. The regular price is the lowest price charged within that same sales area over the past 30 days before the date when the reduced price becomes is first charged.
- Any announcement referring to a reduction in prices, regardless of form, type of publicity and motivation for the reduction, must first of all target all of the consumers and must indicate in figures a reduction from the regular prices, except for the cases established by the law.
- Publicity by means of a catalogue and price reduction offers launched by merchants that sell by mail may only be valid as available in stock, provided that this condition is visibly and legibly written in the catalogue.
- It is forbidden to post a price reduction for a certain product and/or service as a free of charge offer for a part of the respective product and/or service.
- Promotional lotteries are only admitted if no direct or indirect expenditure is imposed on the participants in return as a supplement to the actual purchase of the respective product/service.
Advertising the stakes of a promotional lottery must always mention the nature, number and commercial value of the respective stakes, as well as the following phrase: “rules of participation/competition are available free of charge to any participant.” For that purpose, the announcement must also refer to the address or telephone number wherefrom participants can have those rules.
The rules shall make it clear that the organiser of the promotional lottery is obliged to announce publicly the names of the winners and their prizes.
Any act whereby the organiser of promotional lotteries suggests any of the following to members of the audience, in the text of the advertisement, will be considered to be misleading advertising:
- that they have just won a considerable prize, although the draw of lots for the stakes would be held at a later time;
- that they have won a considerable prize and they actually receive a minimal prize or a consolation prize.
It is forbidden to sell or offer to sell merchandise or services or any offer of services that may enable consumers to collect free of charge immediately or at a later time a premium in the form of merchandise/services, except for the situations when they are identical in terms of assortment of the merchandise/services then purchased.