Unfair business practices – General
The following business practices give rise to a right to seek an injunction and, in case of culpability, to compensation in accordance with the Austrian Act Against Unfair Competition (UWG):
- Offences listed in the annex to the UWG as examples of unfair practices: these include false claims by a trader that they are party to a code of conduct and the use of trust marks, quality labels or similar without the corresponding authorisation.
If an offence is not explicitly listed in the annex, it is necessary to examine whether the business practice in question can be deemed aggressive or misleading.
- Aggressive business practices: aggressive business practices are practices that significantly impair the freedom of market participants to act or make decisions in relation to a product as a result of harassment, coercion or undue influence, and that may cause such participants to make a commercial decision that they would not have otherwise made.
- Misleading business practices: misleading business practices include providing untrue information and practices otherwise intended to mislead a market participant about one or several aspects of a product with the aim of causing them to make a commercial decision that they would not have otherwise made. This applies to both goods and services. Misleading information may be provided, for example, about the primary features or availability of a product, or the person or attributes of the trader such as their identity, competence or distinctions.
If none of the offences listed in the annex have been committed, and if the business practice is neither aggressive nor misleading, it is necessary to examine whether it may nonetheless be unfair:
- Anyone who applies any other kind of unfair business practice or other unfair practice in commercial trade with the intention of having a non-negligible influence on competition to the detriment of other traders, or who applies an unfair business practice that does not meet professional diligence requirements and, with respect to the relevant product, is intended to significantly influence the economic behaviour of the average consumer who is being affected or targeted, may be subject to an injunction and, in case of culpability, liable to pay compensation.
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 Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO).
- Association Against Unfair Competition (→ Schutzverband) German text
- Austrian Economic Chambers (→ WKO) German text
responsible for content: Austrian Federal Competition Authority