The main accused – a 33-year-old Italian – is sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, including six months in prison and two years in prison. The District Court of Zofingen (AG) found him guilty of multiple violations of the law against unfair competition. He also seizes the assets of the company Geminis Marketing incriminated, amounting to 200'000 francs.
The court also sentenced two other defendants in this case. They receive 15 and 18 months in prison suspended for unfair competition. The three defendants must also pay fines ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 francs.
Online site still operated
The court largely followed the indictment of the public prosecutor. The defense demanded the acquittal of the defendants, believing that they could not be held responsible for the advertising calls made by a commissioned call center in Pristina, Kosovo.
Formerly based in Zofingen, the incriminated company continues to operate the website werbesperre.ch ("blocking advertising") and offers an annual subscription for 129 francs, excluding VAT. The criminal complaint that led to the trial of the three accused emanates from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco). The latter had received numerous complaints from customers of the firm.
Bernes despite a star number
Geminis Marketing has called, between May 2015 and November 2016, at least 240 people whose number is followed by a star in the directory, a distinctive sign prohibiting any advertising appeal. On the basis of false information in particular, the victims were encouraged to take out a subscription allowing them to escape any advertising call.
The telephone agents suggested to them that an oral agreement entailed the simple sending of an offer or an information brochure. In reality, their green light tied them to a subscription contract. In the event of non-payment, the firm sent reminder letters of the invoice.