Manufacturers ordered to give option for consumers to switch off commercials.

Smart television manufacturers and sellers must provide consumers with an option to turn off advertisements inserted in the devices to protect their rights and interests, China's top court said.

The Supreme People's Court made the remark on May 22nd 2023 in the country's first release of a public interest case concerning smart TVs, clarifying that consumers have the right to choose or reject products or services.

In the case, the Jiangsu Consumer Council filed a lawsuit against an electronics company, claiming that a 15-second advertisement, which was automatically played when smart TVs sold by the company were turned on, infringed upon consumers' rights. The council asked the company to offer consumers an option to disable the ad, saying that they should not be forced to watch it every time they turned on their TVs. After the enterprises failed to correct the problem, the council sued it.

In November 2020, the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu found in favor of the council, ordering the company to provide an option for consumers to disable the ad, stressing in the verdict that consumers have the right to choose or reject the service. In March 2021, the Jiangsu High People's Court upheld the original ruling after the company appealed.

"Even though the ad was just 15 seconds, it violated the legitimate rights of consumers and also affected the healthy development of the smart TV industry," Qi Su, deputy chief judge of the top court's Third Circuit Court, said while briefing about the case on Monday.

"The dispute resolution has shown the principle of upholding a people-centered approach in our judicial affairs, and how we responded to public concerns with efficient case handling," she added.

Source: (English)