Specific unfair business practices
The legislation against unfair competition has been further developed and shaped by case-law. The following practices are regarded as unfair:
- Customer targeting whereby the customer is prevented fully or partly from exercising free will, for example as a result of deceit, physical or psychological coercion, manipulation and exploitation of emotions to such an extent that it is no longer guaranteed that the customer will be able to make a rational, critical decision based on objective considerations.
Advertising measures must be recognisable as such.
- Restraint of competition which is aimed at preventing a competitor from selling or getting a fair price for their product, e.g. restraint of sales, advertising or procurement by means, for example, of targeted solicitation of customers in the immediate vicinity of a competitor, planned distribution of advertising flyers in front of a competitor's premises, poaching of employees by reprehensible means.
- Exploitation of third-party services via imitation, in particular by reprehensible means (e.g. taking over, to a lesser or greater extent, the results of another's work without having made any contribution to that work, avoidable deception of origin).
- Breach of law: Anyone who attempts to breach legal rules in order to gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors is considered to be in breach of the Gesetz gegen den Unlauteren Wettbewerb (UWG). The breach of law must objectively have been intended to have a non-negligible impact on competition, e.g. breaches of trade regulations or of other standards applicable to commercial trade (e.g. opening times, price marking rules).
- Injurious claims against another company: anyone who states or disseminates facts about another company, the owner or director of that company or the goods or services provided by that company that may damage the company's operations or the credit rating of its owner for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage is obliged to pay compensation to the injured party, provided that there is no evidence of the truth of the alleged facts. In addition to a claim for compensation, the injured party may also issue an injunction. It is also possible to take legal action requiring the infringing party to publish a retraction statement.
- Comparative advertising is usually permitted, unless it is misleading or contains sweeping, defamatory or libellous statements.
The announcement of clearance sales due to dissolution of a business or relocation of its premises must first be notified to the district administrative authority. Clearance sales due to remodelling or renovation (without dissolution of the business or relocation of its premises) do not require prior approval. Clearance sales due to a natural event such as flooding or fire must also be notified to the district administrative authority in advance. Detailed information about "Retail – Exceptional clearance sales"German text can also be found at USP.gv.at.
These regulations also apply to all traders from EU Member States in Austria. Information on the special regulations applicable in certain sectors and industries can be obtained from the Wirtschaftskammern Österreich (Austrian Economic Chambers).
- Association Against Unfair Competition (→ Schutzverband)German text
- Austrian Economic Chambers (→ WKO) German text
responsible for content: Austrian Federal Competition Authority