The Supreme Court ruled that Homeplus, which had a '1+1 event' by raising prices compared to before the advertisement, was exaggerating.

This is because the discount is correct compared to the price just before the advertisement, but it is not based on the lowest price sold in the 20 days before the advertisement.

The first division of the Supreme Court (Chief Justice Park Jung-hwa) announced that the original court had confirmed the original judgment in favor of some of the plaintiffs in the appeal for cancellation of the disposition, including the correction order, filed by Homeplus against the Fair Trade Commission.

According to the court, in November 2016, the Fair Trade Commission imposed a correction order and imposed a fine as well as a correction order, saying that large marts such as Homeplus, Lotte Shopping, and E-Mart had false and exaggerated advertisements during various events.

It was advertised as a 1+1 promotion giving one more item as a bonus, but in reality, the price was the same as buying two items, so the reason was exaggerated advertising.

Large marts were dissatisfied, and lawsuits continued, and the Supreme Court judged that the 1+1 event of Lotte Shopping and E-Mart in 2018 was exaggerated advertising.

However, the conclusion in the Homeplus trial was somewhat different.

The Fair Trade Commission regarded the lowest price as the 'previous transaction price' among the prices charged for the product for about 20 days before the 1+1 event started.

For example, Homeplus sold a set of toilet paper at 2,970 won for four days, 1,780 won for the next week, and 12,900 won for the next six days.

Next, they advertised as 'a buying opportunity that will never come again' and held a 1+1 event and sold two sets for 12,900 won.

The Fair Trade Commission judged Homeplus to be an exaggerated advertisement, seeing the lowest price of 1,780 won as the previous transaction price.

However, the Seoul High Court ruled in favor of Homeplus, saying, "From the point of view of ordinary consumers with normal attention, the 'previous transaction price' should be regarded as 'the price actually sold in the close period before the advertisement'."

If interpreted as the Fair Trade Commission standard, business operators cannot advertise as they want without maintaining a certain price for 20 days, effectively infringing on the autonomy of pricing, which in turn reduces price competition and worsens consumer welfare.

In this way, some of the products subject to sanctions by the Fair Trade Commission were judged not to be exaggerated advertisements, and a total fine of 16 million won was also canceled.

However, corrective orders and warnings were maintained.

The Supreme Court acknowledged that there was no problem in the conclusion of the cancellation of the order to pay the fine, although there were errors in the Seoul High Court's judgment.

The court said, "The Fair Trade Commission's standards are not absolutely applied in determining the 'previous transaction price', which is the standard for judging whether an advertisement is false or exaggerated, but it is a matter to be considered. It was wrong to judge that it was the same as the previous actual selling price, and the Fair Trade Commission standard of '20 days before advertisement'

According to this standard, the Supreme Court explains that Homeplus' advertisements are false and exaggerated advertisements because they are called discount events that cannot be regarded as actual discount events.

However, he added that the judgment of the second trial that canceled the order to pay the fine was ultimately correct, as some of the advertisements do not fall under false or exaggerated advertisements.

(Photo = provided by Yonhap News TV, Yonhap News)