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Competition office fines consumer group organisers

The competition office (GVH) has imposed fines of a combined HUF 6m on three companies organising consumer groups for providing misleading information to consumers, GVH told MTI on Wednesday.

GVH has fined Creditswiss Kft HUF 5m, Optimum Holding Kft HUF 808,000 and Kalomuna Credit Kft, which provides services for the former two companies, a combined HUF 155,000 over two procedures.

GVH has established concerning all three companies that they did not provide information or provided unclear information on the key characteristics of consumer groups, thereby misleading consumers.

GVH noted in the statement that several competition council and court decisions have been passed in recent years concerning issues affecting consumer groups. These unanimously declare that advertisements must contain the key elements of this peculiar type of purchase association including the fact that the given service is provided through internal lending - from members’ payments, and not from the financial fund provided by the organiser of the consumer group.

Companies organising consumer groups must point out in their information materials the savings character of the facility and must emphasise that the satisfaction of the consumer need will take place not at the time of the signing of the contract, but in the future, at an unspecified date, possibly several years later. They must also refer to the element of luck, that is the fact that it is decided on the basis of the commitment to make savings who will be the lucky one to obtain the right to make a purchase - not money - in the given month.