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Competition Conditions and Complaints

Danish Competition and Consumer Authority

Rules on Marketing Practice

Get an overview of the specific rules that apply to marketing in Denmark.

Rules on Marketing Practice

The Danish Marketing Practices Act provides the framework for when and how companies established in Denmark may market themselves to consumers.

The rules apply to all stages of the sales process in which a product or service is placed on the market.

Important rules to which you should pay particular attention

You must not mislead your customers:

  • by means of incorrect or missing information

  • by a vague or unclear presentation, regardless of whether the information is factually correct

  • by emphasising certain information about your product more than other information so that the product seems better overall

You may only send electronic marketing to or call consumers if they have given consent

Electronic marketing, e.g. advertising emails/text messages and calls to consumers are only permitted if the consumers have given their explicit consent.

There are few industries that are allowed to call consumers without prior consent. These concern the sale of:

  • Newspapers and magazines

  • Books

  • Insurance policies

  • Rescue and patient transport service contracts

If the consumer is on the Robinson List, even the aforementioned industries may not call the consumer without consent. The Robinson list is a register that consumers can sign up to. Companies are obliged to check the Robinson list before calling consumers or before sending advertisements where the recipient's name and address are written on the outside.

You must not make hidden advertising

The Danish Marketing Practices Act bans hidden advertising. This means that it shall be clear to the recipient if a blog post, Instagram post, etc. has a commercial intent.

This applies regardless of the media in which the advertisement is shown, e.g. whether it is in print media such as newspapers and magazines, or online, e.g. in blogs or on social media.

Provisions specific to Denmark

The rules for marketing are regulated at EU level. However, The Danish Marketing Practices Act contains a number of provisions that are specific to Denmark.

Those provisions are as follows:

Fair commercial practices

If you set up a business in Denmark, you must comply with what is known as ‘fair commercial practices’, as per Section 3 of the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

Fair commercial practices basically mean that your company’s marketing activities must comply with socially acceptable norms. For example, the company’s advertising must not be offensive or unethical.

Children and young people

Children and young people under the age of 18 are a particularly vulnerable market segment because they are more impressionable and easier to influence.

In Denmark, there are more stringent requirements if you want to aim your business marketing at precisely that target group. The younger the market segment, the more stringent the requirements on business marketing.

Among other things, it must be completely clear to children and young people that what they are seeing is an advertisement.

In addition, your marketing may not include images of or references to drugs, including alcohol, if it is aimed at young people under the age of 18. Furthermore, your business may not use violence, fear, or superstition in its advertising for the purpose of capturing the attention of children and young people.

The rules on marketing aimed at children and young people stem from, inter alia, Section 3, Subsection 2 and Section 11 of The Danish Marketing Practices Act.

Consumer loan

The Danish Marketing Practices Act includes rules that are particularly aimed at businesses that provide consumer loans.

In particular, companies that provide consumer loans with an APR (annual percentage rate) of more than 25 % are prohibited from marketing loans to consumers. This also applies to companies that passes on loan providers’ financing options to consumers.

In addition, companies are prohibited from marketing consumer loans and consumer lending businesses in conjunction with advertisements for gambling and gambling operators.

Examples of unfair commercial practices

Annex 1 to the Danish Marketing Act contains 31 examples of commercial practices that are considered misleading or aggressive.

The following examples are considered to be misleading:

  • Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.

  • Presenting rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of your offer

  • Describing a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge”, or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.

Example of aggressive marketing:

  • An advertisement that isa direct exhortation to children to buy advertised products or persuade their parents or other adults to buy advertised products for them.

Unfair commercial practices

Annex 1 to the Danish Marketing Act contains 31 examples of commercial practices that are considered misleading or aggressive.

The following examples are considered to be misleading:

  • Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.

  • Presenting rights given to consumers in law as a distinctive feature of your offer

  • Describing a product as “gratis”, “free”, “without charge”, or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.

Example of aggressive marketing:

  • An advertisement that isa direct exhortation to children to buy advertised products or persuade their parents or other adults to buy advertised products for them.

Are you in doubt?

In Denmark, the Danish Consumer Ombudsman supervises businesses’ compliance with the The Danish Marketing Practices Act.

If you are in doubt as to whether an intended marketing campaign complies with the rules of The Danish Marketing Practices Act, you can request a preliminary opinion from the Danish Consumer Ombudsman.

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Updated 12.03.2021
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