Loud statements like "We are the best company on the market", outdated prices, careless storage of confidential data and many other factors can draw the attention of the Antimonopoly Committee and the State Service for Consumer Protection to your business.
How to avoid fines and put your landing in order from a legal point of view?
For phrases like "We are №1 in the market" you can get a fine from the Antimonopoly Committee
Some marketers use loud phrases like "We are №1 in the market", "We have the lowest prices" or "Our product has no analogues" when packaging a business. Such statements can be added only if it is really true.
If the company is not the market leader or sells the product at the lowest price, claiming the opposite, it violates the law "On protection against unfair competition." The Antimonopoly Committee may recognize such advertising materials as "misleading", fine and oblige to bring the site and business in line with antitrust law.
What sanctions are threatened for violation:
- Fine up to 5% from sales of products for the previous reporting year;
- Compensation in double the amount of damage caused by the dissemination of inaccurate information;
- Prohibition on the use of products and materials with misleading information.
In 2015, mobile operators Lifecell and Kyivstar were fined UAH 19.5 and 21.3 million, respectively. They indicated on their websites that calls were charged per second, but in reality it was per minute.
The committee also monitors smaller businesses. In 2017, he fined the manufacturer of medical drugs 70 thousand. UAH The company used an image of the award on the website and product packaging, which it did not receive. In addition to the fine, they had to remove this badge from all manufactured goods.
In April 2018, the Antimonopoly Committee fined the producer of yogurt "Galichina" 68 thousand. UAH The inscription "From the pure Carpathians" on the site and products was recognized as "misleading." As it turned out, the company's plants are located in the Volyn region, and the purchase of raw materials in the Carpathian regions has not been carried out for more than six months.
Even the fact that the manufacturer has a registered trademark with the text "From the pure Carpathians" did not change the situation. The antitrust authorities explained that even the presence of a trademark does not give the right to disseminate unreliable information among consumers.
Use only the data on the selling site that you can confirm
If the product is certified by a research institute, it is better to write a specific phrase: "Our product is certified by such an institute", rather than the abstract "Approved by doctors" or "Recommended by leading cosmetologists".
Avoid the phrase "We are the best company on the market." If you have helped the client and are proud of what you do, it is better to place a real review on the site. Otherwise, it may result in complaints from consumers or competitors against you.
You are obliged to sell the goods at the price which is specified on the website. Keep an eye on its relevance
When selling goods or providing services, you offer the user to enter into a "connection agreement" with you - the person by default agrees to the conditions that are spelled out on the site. This means that all information must be valid and understandable.
First of all, you need to monitor the relevance of prices. The price indicated on the site is a public offer - by law you are obliged to sell the product at this price.
If you refuse a customer to sell the product at the price stated on the site, he has the right to contact State Service for Consumer Protection or immediately in court. This can lead to fines and additional inspections of your company.
Exit two: control the relevance of prices and working conditions on the site or make a note "Prices listed on the site are subject to change. Check the current cost with the manager by phone. "
How to limit responsibility to users and why do it
Facebook has limited its liability to users to $100 or "the amount a person has paid in the last twelve months."
If the user sues on Facebook, he will not be able to claim more than $100 or the total annual payment
Limitation of liability does not guarantee the absence of problems in the future. But it is better for site owners to insure themselves and prescribe additional items in the user agreement. This is easier than then proving the unfoundedness of the size of the lawsuits.
If you have a software product, the restriction text can be as follows:
“You acknowledge that (…) is not responsible for any damage to your computer system or data loss resulting from the download of any such material. Use of this website constitutes your agreement to these terms and conditions and your waiver of any claims against (…) and its affiliates. (…) Reserves the right at any time in its sole discretion to supplement, delete or in any way change parts of this disclaimer. ”
You can add the following restriction to the information site:
"By using this site, you agree that (…) will not be liable for any direct or indirect damages from the use of the information and materials contained on this site."
Personal data: name, location, contacts, preferences and online identifiers. Confidential information: genetic and biometric indicators, racial and ethnic origin
Special attention should be paid to such a policy if you have clients from the European Union. This is due to GDPR regulations, which became mandatory in May 2018.
If a citizen of the European Union leaves on your site data by which he can be identified, be sure to implement these basic points:
- Separate consent is required if you are going to email a person;
Keep information about the date and time of granting all the above consents. If there are any disputes, you can easily prove yourself right.
Tatiana Petrenko, lawyer
partner of the law firm Bargen
The article is published on Genius Marketing website