Judge gags consumer watchdog

 In Consumer watchdogs, Food retail and distribution, Litigation, News

A judge has prohibited the consumer watchdog ‘Citizens’ Voice from keeping publications on its official website and social media networks accusing the Portuguese supermarket giant Pingo Doce of “practising any crimes” involving price speculation and misleading publicity.

The president of Citizens’ Voice, Octávio Viana was given the order by a civil court in the town of Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto.

In the meantime, a decision on an injunction that had been issued by the retailer, which the online news source ECO obtained, does not prevent the watchdog — as requested by Jerónimo Martins – from publicly disclosing the popular actions with which it has advanced and are pending a court decision, as well as those that are in preparation.

Neither does it order them to remove the references that have been made on the disparity between the prices advertised on supermarket shelves and those actually charged a checkouts on around 100 products, mostly foodstuffs.

Octávio Viana and the association set up in 2021 were ordered by the court to pay €1000 “for each day that they delayed carrying out the (removal) order. The amount is five times below the amount that had been demanded by Pingo Doce. In the meantime, Citizens’ Voice has removed them from its site and social networks, including any mention of the word ‘crime’.

According to an official source, Pingo Doce says it is “satisfied” that the association and its president have been “have been legally ordered to immediately cease the accusations on its sites and social networks accusing Pingo Doce of crimes of speculation and misleading publicity”.