PUBLICATIONS

Misleading and Comparative Advertising

Part III of the Consumer Protection Law of 2021 applies to:[1]

  • Misleading advertising of traders to traders and their unfair consequences; and
  • Comparative advertising of traders to traders and/or consumers by defining the conditions under which comparative advertising is allowed

WHAT IS “MISLEADING ADVERTISING”

Misleading advertising means any advertising which in any way, including its presentation, deceives or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed or whom it reaches and which, by reason of its deceptive nature, is likely to affect their economic behavior or which, for those reasons, injures or is likely to injure a competitor.[2]

In determining whether an advertisement is misleading, account is taken of all its features, and in particular of any information it contains concerning:[3]

  1. the characteristics of goods or services, such as their availability, nature, execution, composition, method and date of manufacture or provision, fitness for purpose, uses, quantity, specification, geographical or commercial origin or the results to be expected from their use, or the results and material features of tests or checks carried out on the goods or services.
  2. the price or the manner in which the price is calculated, and the conditions on which the goods are supplied, or the services provided and
  3. the nature, attributes, and rights of the advertiser, such as his identity and assets, his qualifications and ownership of industrial, commercial, or intellectual property rights or his awards and distinctions.

WHAT IS “COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING”

‘Comparative advertising’ means any advertising which explicitly or by implication identifies a competitor or goods or services offered by a competitor.[4]

Comparative advertising is generally permitted, provided however that the following conditions are met:

  • it does not constitute a misleading commercial practice or omission
  • it compares goods or services meeting the same needs or intended for the same purpose
  • it objectively compares one or more material, relevant, verifiable, and representative features of those goods and services, which may include price
  • it does not discredit or denigrate the trademarks, trade names, other distinguishing marks, goods, services, activities, or circumstances of a competitor
  • for products with designation of origin, it relates in each case to products with the same designation
  • it does not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a trademark, trade name or other distinguishing marks of a competitor or of the designation of origin of competing products
  • it does not present goods or services as imitations or replicas of goods or services bearing a protected trademark or trade name
  • it does not create confusion among traders, between the advertiser and a competitor or between the advertiser’s trademarks, trade names, other distinguishing marks, goods, or services and those of a competitor.

In addition to the powers vested in the Consumer Protection Service (CPS) to investigate infringements of the Law, according to Article 56 of the Law, the CPS has a duty in the interests of consumers, competitors, and the general public, to examine upon complaint or ex officio whether any advertisement, whether published or imminent, is misleading or prohibited comparative advertising.[5] 5

In the event of a complaint, the CPS may request the complainant to verify that:

  • it has filed a complaint for such advertising, in such standard redress mechanisms as the Authority deems appropriate, having regard to all the circumstances of the case
  • a reasonable opportunity has been afforded to deal with such a complaint by those redress mechanisms; and
  • the complaint has not been satisfactorily addressed through these mechanisms.

This article has been prepared by the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution and is co-financed by the European Union under the Consumer Program (2014-2020).

The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution is a Body approved by the Consumer Protection Service and notified to the European Commission.

[1] The Consumer Protection Law of 2021, Law 112 (I)/2021, a 9

[2] The Consumer Protection Law of 2021, Law 112 (I)/2021, a 10

[3] The Consumer Protection Law of 2021, Law 112 (I)/2021, a 11

[4] The Consumer Protection Law of 2021, Law 112 (I)/2021, a 10

[5] The Consumer Protection Law of 2021, Law 112 (I)/2021, a 56

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