Misleading and aggressive advertising: a 450 thousand euro fine from the Antitrust for U-Mask masks

U-Mask, by the Antitrust Authority, a fine of 450 thousand euros for misleading advertising to the two companies that sold the popular masks

Throw in news for the hugely popular face masks U-Mask. The investigation launched by the Antitrust against U-Earth Biotech e Pure Air Zone Italy, the two companies that had launched the U-Mask fabric mask on the market. According to the AGCM, the two companies unduly equated the U-Mask with FFP3 devices, in addition to having boasted the approval by the Ministry of Health, in reality non-existent. In a nutshell: misleading and aggressive advertising.

Read also: U-Mask masks seized: filtering capacity lower than declared

Misleading and aggressive advertising that has put consumers' health at risk 

Yes, for over a year, the two companies have sponsored on the Internet the biotech surgical masks "U-Mask" (in the "Model 2", "Model 2.1" and "Model 2.2" versions), registered as medical devices, attributing them additional qualities, for example virucidal properties and an effectiveness of 200 hours, certified on the basis of tests carried out independently. Not only. Until last February, the general conditions of the contract were available exclusively in English and a non-existent approval of the mask was claimed by the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Health.

This is a practice carried out in a deceptive and aggressive way, as it is susceptible, on the one hand, to deceive consumers about the effective protective capacity of the mask, endangering their health - explains the Italian Competition Authority. Market - and, on the other hand, to leverage the health emergency situation to unduly induce the latter to purchase the product, in violation of articles 20, 21, paragraph 1, letter b), and paragraph 3, 22, 23, paragraph 1, letter d), 24 and 25, paragraph 1, letter c) of the Consumer Code.

But the misconduct of the two companies does not limit to this. Also until the end of last February, the two companies did not comply with the regulations on pre-contractual information for the consumer in distance contracts, not providing the indications provided regarding the methods of exercising the consumer's right of withdrawal, the legal guarantee of compliance and the possibility of using an extra-judicial complaint and appeal mechanism.

In light of the seriousness and duration of the violations of the Consumer Code and also the high number of consumers involved, a penalty equal to 400.000 euros for unfair commercial practice and another fine of 50.000 euros for illegal conduct relating to consumer rights in contracts.

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Source: AGCM

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