Lidl received a hefty fine, and this is how the chain retaliated

The Economic Competition Authority initiated proceedings against Lidl in July 2023. You noticed that Lidl Magyarország Kereskedelmi Bt. claimed in its commercial communication from February 13, 2023, that “Lidl is the cheapest grocery chain”.

According to the official announcement, this slogan probably suggested to the average consumer that the company’s product range is actually the cheapest compared to all other Hungarian supermarket chains.

The GVH explained that the survey carried out by Pénzcentrum, indicated in the company’s commercial communication, was probably not suitable for objective, factual verification of the company’s claim of market leadership. Since it was clearly subjective, non-representative, and related to an earlier period (December 2, 2022 – January 30, 2023) compared to the publication of the advertisements.

In its decision, the office pointed out that the message of the advertising campaign in the interpretation of average consumers meant that Lidl’s products were objectively the cheapest compared to competitors. This market leadership claim is backed up by independent, third-party research. This is a claim of market leadership in terms of message content. In the announcement, the national competition authority draws attention to the fact that the assertion of the market leading position serves as an important indicator of the price, quality and reliability of goods and services for consumers.

According to the position of the Competition Council of the GVH, and according to court practice, such claims may only be made if the company has objective data that clearly supports this at the time of publication of the advertisement. Therefore, businesses must be especially careful when advertising prices, they emphasized.

A hefty competition supervision fine was imposed

In accordance with GVH’s previous practice, it found that the claims of market leadership were not properly substantiated, so they could mislead consumers. Based on all of this, the Competition Council of the GVH imposed a HUF 90 million competition fine on Lidl Magyarország Kereskedelmi Bt., based on the cost of the advertising campaign. The Economic Competition Office informed.

In response, Lidl wrote: Based on research by and, Lidl finished first.

Lidl stated that all 62 product categories displayed in GVH’s price monitor were taken into account, which were available at all obliged store chains on that day.

In December, the unit prices of the most affordable products uploaded to the given category, available to everyone nationally (i.e. not only valid with a loyalty card), were aggregated daily by store chain.

The average of the daily basket values ​​obtained in this way was the lowest for them in December. During the average calculation, non-working days and days affected by technical errors were not taken into account, and during the calculation only the unit prices of the products were taken as a basis, regardless of the packaging of the products, the store chain wrote.

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