Can Bonus Packs Mislead Consumers? An Empirical Assessment of the ECJ's Mars Judgment and its Potential Impact on EU Marketing Regulation

Wageningen Working Papers Series in Law and Governance 2014/07

60 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2014

See all articles by Kai P. Purnhagen

Kai P. Purnhagen

University of Bayreuth; Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics

Erica van Herpen

Wageningen UR

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

The use of psychological findings in EU internal market regulation has gained interest, particularly in the area of unfair commercial practices. This study investigates consumer perceptions of bonus packs containing an oversized indication of the 'extra' volume in the package (indication of 10% extra on a colored area that is considerably larger, such as in the Mars case). Results of our experiment show that consumers overestimate the extra volume when confronted with an oversized indication compared to control conditions, which can be considered empirical evidence that this practice is potentially misleading. Given that the perception of the internal market concept has changed since the Lisbon agenda, this type of scientific evidence is getting increasingly relevant. This study serves as a first indication that once a bias has been proven to be robust in several situational studies from behavioral sciences, regulators at EU level can base their regulatory decision on the existence of such a bias in similar cases.

Keywords: Behavioral Consumer, Unfair Commercial Practices, Average Consumer, Mars Judgment

Suggested Citation

Purnhagen, Kai Peter and van Herpen, Erica, Can Bonus Packs Mislead Consumers? An Empirical Assessment of the ECJ's Mars Judgment and its Potential Impact on EU Marketing Regulation (September 30, 2014). Wageningen Working Papers Series in Law and Governance 2014/07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503342

Kai Peter Purnhagen (Contact Author)

University of Bayreuth ( email )

Universitatsstr 30
Bayreuth, D-95447
Germany

Erasmus University of Rotterdam - Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
PO box 1738
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Erica Van Herpen

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

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