FICOSOTA AND COCA-COLA FINED BY CPC
The Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) imposed two property sanctions - worth BGN10,000 and BGN20,000, last week. On Tuesday, the commission punished the Shoumen-based soap powders producer Ficosota Syntez OOD and on Wednesday - the Coca-Cola producer Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria AD. The fines were provoked by advertising games organized by the two companies and popularized by newspapers and TV channels. Ficosota was found guilty of promising to give one hundred Samsung washing machines as rewards to its customers, while the Coca-Cola producer tried to attract clients with three music albums, a VIP-package for two for an Eminem concert in Detroit, and a holiday for two in Ibiza.According to the Ficosota game rules, all consumers who have bought Echo Savex washing powder are allowed to participate in a lottery for the rewards. They simply have to fill in a form with a personal number and to send it to the announced address together with three bar codes. The promotion organized by Coca-Cola, entitled Music in a Bottle, requires that customers collect and send ten packings with the same symbol of Coca-Cola, Fanta, or Sprite. Participants are also allowed to the lottery if they fill in and send a special blank which is not related to the acquisition of company's products.Both cases represent a kind of unfair competition, CPC's experts say. They contradict the conscientious trade practice. Both games violate art. 36, paragraph 6 of the Protection of Competition Act, which bans a sale when it offers or promises an object which customers can receive depending on ... raffling money or products which value exceeds significantly the price of the product or service sold.This is what both Ficosota and Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria did. Logically, they came within the provisions of the law. CPC's experts have established that the value of one Samsung washing machine - BGN367, VAT included, exceeds several times the selling price of the Echo washing powder (which is sold at BGN0.89 - BGN1.20). The case regarding Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria's Music in a Bottle game is analogical. The CPC found out that the price of two tickets for the concert of Eminem in Detroit is worth USD2,423, and the holiday for two in Ibiza costs EUR2,020. That's why, the CPC concluded, the value of these rewards exceeds the value of five lowest working salaries in Bulgaria and is more than ten times higher than the products offered (at BGN0.99).