19 May 2021, Budapest – The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has established that the fortune-telling television programme titled Asztro Show was urging customers to call in using unfair and false statements. The producer of the programme has admitted to committing the infringement.
The investigation of the GVH has established that the fortune-telling television programme titled Asztro Show, broadcast on a nationwide commercial channel, was urging viewers to call in using misleading practices. During the programme, the messages conveyed by the host and certain visual elements, such a countdown, were suggesting that the services of the fortune-tellers were only available for a limited time and viewers had to call immediately to access them. However, the investigation revealed that the availability of the fortune-tellers was not restricted; they were accepting calls even after the programme had ended. Therefore, these messages suggesting urgency based on false statements deprived viewers of the time and opportunity needed to make level-headed and well-informed decisions.
NTH AG, the Swiss producer of the programme, admitted to committing the infringement during the proceeding, introduced a compliance programme in order to prevent similar infringements in the future, and waived its right to a legal remedy. Taking all this into account, together with the facts that the undertaking falls into the category of small and medium enterprises, that this was the first time it has ever committed a competition law infringement, and that the unfair practices did not generate a significant income, the GVH imposed a fine of HUF 650 thousand on the undertaking.
In connection with fortune-telling programmes, the GVH only has the legal authority to investigate the commercial practices, such as their sales incentives in this case, while evaluating the contents of the service, that is the fortune-telling activity itself, the basis, and the truthfulness of their predictions, falls outside the competence of the Authority. The GVH has published a guidance document for consumers earlier about the facts to take into consideration before they call into a fortune-telling television programme.
The official registration number of the case is: VJ/39/2019.
GVH Press Office