On May 19, 2021, the Swiss Federal Council passed an amendment to the Price Disclosure Ordinance (PDO) - which contains very strict requirements re price advertising, i.e. advertising in which prices are referenced.

The PDO aims to create price transparency and facilitate price comparison - to avoid misleading price displays, and thereby protecting consumers against fraud and untrue statements in advertising and at the point of sale. In order to achieve this objective, if and to the extent that they reference prices, price ranges or price limits, sellers are required to display the actual price payable in Swiss Francs and including VAT. As a general rule, the price must be displayed on the product itself or directly next to the product - which means in the shop window or in case of advertising on the poster or in the brochure or catalogue. The display, or advertising, must be clearly visible and easy to read. In addition to the price, the display or advertising must state the product and specifically detail the sales unit to which the price refers. In case of products available in different configuration, such as for instance automobiles, or bundles of products, this can fill several lines. The display must be clearly visible and easy to read

As of 1 July 2021, information on the specification (i.e. on the essential criteria of a product) no longer has to be provided directly in the advertising material itself (e.g. in catalogues, brochures or on posters), but it is sufficient to include a (clearly legible or audible) reference to a digital source (e.g. to a website) which contains the information on the specification of the advertised product. Consumers can then find out the mandatory information from a QR code or link to the website - provided that the digital source is directly accessible, easily visible and clearly legible.

With this amendment, the amount of mandatory information in the advertising material itself in the case of price advertising is reduced, digitalization is taken into account. It remains to be seen whether a similar approach will soon also be taken with regard to other mandatory information, including for instance those contained in the Energy Efficiency Ordinance. Or do consumer protection considerations speak against further "digital simplification", as this results in a certain loss of transparency? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and experience from other jurisdictions.