Legal Alert – ECJ Judgment on Consumer Protection – Prize Promotions

Multi-option scheme is not working

In addition the ECJ states that, given the absolute nature of the prohibition of imposing any costs on prize winners, offering a number of options for claiming the prize, some of them free of charge, cannot eliminate the unfair character of the promotion if still one or more of the proposed options were to require the consumer to bear a cost.

The ECJ held that it is the very prospect of taking possession of the prize which influences the consumer and may cause him to take a decision he would not take otherwise, such as choosing the quickest method of finding out what prize he has won, even though that may be the most expensive method.

No doubt that the ECJ judgment will significantly influence the promoters across the European Union as some may even need to revise their terms and conditions when organizing prize promotions.

However, a significant bias towards the protection of consumers may be noticed in this ECJ judgment which in some cases may raise serious concerns as to how adequate is such high level of protection. If, for example, a winner needs to take the bus to a neighbouring city in order to gather a new luxury car from the manufacturer as a prize, does anyone want to be protected from such a promotion?