Danish consumer ombudsman reports BMW to police over alleged misleading marketing

By Johannes Birkebaek

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The Danish Consumer Ombudsman (DCO) said in a statement on Wednesday that it has reported German carmaker BMW to the Danish police over marketing practices, which it alleges are misleading.

In a campaign from 2021 and 2022, BMW brands itself as being “the world’s most sustainable car producer”, giving a misleading impression that its cars are less harmful to the environment than cars from other manufacturers, the statement said.

Responding to the claims in a separate statement, BMW said, “it is working constructively with the ombudsman and the police and is providing necessary information,” adding that it could not make further comments in an ongoing case.

According to the Danish Marketing Practices Act, marketing campaigns are not allowed to contain information that is incorrect or possibly misleading and companies must be able to document that their statements are truthful.

In Denmark, it is the police who will investigate the case and decide whether that law was broken.

When companies brand themselves as more environmentally friendly than their competitors, the statement has to be correct, Denmark’s Consumer Ombudsman, Christina Toftegaard Nielsen said.

“It is not only harmful to competing companies but also to the green transition, as we lose trust in the credibility of such messages,” she said.

The Danish consumer ombudsman is an authority that ensures that business, trade and public enterprises comply with the Danish Marketing Practices Act.

(Reporting by Johannes Birkebaek; Editing by Sharon Singleton)