Aggressive commercial practices

An aggressive (and hence unfair and prohibited) commercial practice means conduct which, taking account of all circumstances, by harassment, coercion or undue influence significantly impairs the consumer’s ability to decide freely.

An example of an aggressive commercial practice (well known in the Czech Republic):
A consumer is notified (by phone or in writing) that he stands to win a large amount of money if he is among the first 50 people to complete a test correctly. Although the consumer complies with this condition, he does not rank among the “top fifty”. Virtually everyone receives this message. The consolation prize is an offer of goods, the purchase of which will get the consumer through to the next round of the competition with attractive prizes.

 In determining whether a commercial practice is aggressive, account must be taken of:

  1. its timing, location and persistence,
  2. any use of threatening or abusive behaviour,
  3. the exploitation of any misfortune of the consumer,
  4. any onerous or disproportionate barriers to the consumer exercising his rights,
  5. any threat to take illegal action.

An investigation of unfair commercial practice cannot be limited to misleading and aggressive practices but must also determine whether the commercial practice complies with the general definition of an unfair commercial practice as described above.