Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) has imposed a fine of 14.97 million leva, or 7.66 million euro, on retailer Metro for unacceptable comparative advertising.
The regulator opened an investigation following a complaint by one of its competitors, Lidl, which claimed that Metro engaged in misleading and unacceptable comparative advertising between March and June 2018.
In its ad campaign, Metro implied that it carried a wide variety of products throughout the year, instead of one week at a time, suggesting to customers that they should switch stores instead of changing their tastes.
Lidl said in its complaint that it was the only retailer in Bulgaria to regularly employ “theme weeks”, during which it focuses on products characteristic of a particular cuisine, such as Greek, Italian or French. As such, Metro’s message was clearly targeted at Lidl’s customers, the retailer said.
In its ruling, CPC agreed with Lidl, finding that no other retailer in Bulgaria employed this marketing approach, and concluded that Metro was engaged in unacceptable comparative advertising that could discredit a competitor and harm their good name, which “created the preconditions for unfair trade practices.”
The fine levied by CPC equalled two per cent of Metro’s net sales revenue for 2017 and can be appealed within a 14-day period.
(Photo: Vera Reis/sxc.hu)