On December 07, 2021,Judge Adriana Lisbôa, of the Santa Catarina State Court of Justice (“TJSC”; Case No. 5021613-98.2021.8.24.0005/SC), granted urgent relief in a public civil action proposed by the Public Prosecutor's Office, so that Anglo BC - a local school in Balneário Camboriú - refrains from broadcasting and removes all advertisements displaying false information related to the Brazilian National High School Exam (“Enem”). Enem is the biggest university admission exam in Brazil and a big source of anxiety to teenagers and their families since most Brazilian universities use its grades as sole criterion. In 2021, over 3 million people signed up to participate.
The Defendant was accused of promoting misleading advertising on billboards and social media posts by claiming that the school came first in number of approved students in Enem among the schools in the region. This statement is presented without any reference, which the judge considered a harmful practice to the interests of consumers because since 2015 the responsible for carrying out the Enem - the National Institute for Educational Research (“INEP”) - neither calculates nor discloses the exam’s results by school.
In response to the judge's requests for clarification, INEP confirmed that the Enem’s results are not disclosed by schools, as this is not the purpose of the exam and providing such information would encourage the production of rankings by schools and by the press, a behavior that INEP considers incorrect and counterproductive.
In her decision, Judge Lisbôa, decided that the defendant, by airing the advertisement claiming to be number 1 in the ranking without having any official data, induces consumers to believe that the quality of its services is far superior to that of other establishments in the region, which is decisive when hiring educational services. This act is a clear case of misleading advertising, a practice prohibited by the Brazilian Consumer Defense Code.
Judge Lisbôa determined that the Defendant should refrain from airing advertising indicating rankings related to Enem; and remove all advertisements displaying such rankings, published in digital or physical media, under penalty of a daily fine of R$1,000 (approximately US$ 200). The Defendant may still appeal.