China: 附赠式销售的风险与合规

Last Updated: 6 March 2017
Article by Dentons  

附赠式销售的风险与合规

2016-08-27商业合规观察 作者:戴健民 邓志松

附赠式销售的风险与合规

——一起汽车行业商业贿赂案件引发的思考

大成反垄断与竞争团队:戴健民 / 邓志松

【案情简介】

邓禄普轮胎销售(上海)有限公司(以下简称:"邓禄普公司")主要从事邓禄普品牌轮胎的销售工作。2013年7月至2015年3月,邓禄普公司为促销产品,与下游代理商达成协议,按销售额的一定比例,向其代理商发放苹果电脑、苹果手机、轮胎设备(千斤顶、定位仪、拆胎机、钢圈等)、汽车用品(机油、防冻液、气囊)等实物奖励。相关促销费用记入邓禄普公司的经营费用支出。期间,邓禄普公司累计支出上述促销费用4,491,860元,对应的邓禄普品牌轮胎销售额总计人民币83,215,087.69元(不含增值税),扣除轮胎采购成本、企业所得税及其他附加税费,邓禄普公司共计获利3,812,802.2元。

上海市工商局机场分局认为,邓禄普公司支出上述"促销费用"的行为,违反了《反不正当竞争法》第八条第一款的规定,构成了采用财物进行贿赂以销售商品的商业贿赂行为。根据《反不正当竞争法》第二十二条、《行政处罚法》第二十三条之规定,该分局对当事人作出没收违法所得3,812,802.2元,罚款100,000元的行政处罚。

【案例评析】

自2015年起,一场反商业贿赂的执法风暴席卷了整个汽车轮胎行业,米其林、倍耐力、固特异等各大知名轮胎品牌企业相继被调查或处罚。而他们被查处的原因,与上述案例中的邓禄普公司类似,均为所实施的"附赠式销售"涉嫌构成商业贿赂行为。作为一种常见的商业营销模式,为何汽车轮胎行业的"附赠式销售"却会给企业带来如此巨大的合规风险,值得引起我们的思考。

一、附赠式销售的概念范畴

通常认为,"附赠式销售"是有奖销售的一种。根据《关于禁止有奖销售活动中不正当竞争行为的若干规定》(国家工商局令第19号,以下简称:《关于有奖销售的若干规定》)第二条的相关规定,"附赠式销售"是指经营者在销售商品或者提供服务时,附带性地向购买者提供物品、金钱或者其他经济上的利益的行为。"附赠式销售"可以提高经营者的市场竞争力,为其赢得更多的交易机会。而受赠的消费者则因为企业的这种让利行为,获得了实惠。因此,"附赠式销售"不失为一种双赢的市场营销模式。

二、附赠式销售的法律风险

虽然提升市场竞争力的作用明显,但如果经营者在相关合规工作不够到位的情况下,盲目实施"附赠式销售",则会像上述案例中的邓禄普公司一样,面临被认定为商业贿赂的法律风险。目前,在执法实践中,相关执法机构在界定一项"附赠式销售"是否构成商业贿赂时,主要从以下三个方面予以考量:

(一)附赠的对象

根据交易相对方性质的不同,"附赠式销售"分为经营者之间的附赠和经营者向消费者的附赠。在1993年的《反不正当竞争法》和《关于有奖销售的若干规定》中,对于两者并未予以区分,均作为一种合法的市场营销模式予以规制。但1996年颁布实施的《关于禁止商业贿赂行为的暂行规定》(国家工商局令第60号,以下简称:《禁止商业贿赂暂行规定》)第八条规定:"经营者在商品交易中不得向对方单位或者其个人附赠现金或者物品......违反前款规定的,视为商业贿赂行为"。此后,"附赠式销售"仅限于针对消费者的附赠。类似上述案例中,汽车轮胎生产企业与经销商之间的附赠,则很可能被执法机构视为商业贿赂行为。

(二)附赠的财物

由于经营者之间礼节性的小额礼品馈赠符合商业惯例,并无社会危害性,故法律对此予以了豁免。《禁止商业贿赂暂行规定》第八条第一款规定,经营者之间按照商业惯例赠送小额广告礼品的,不构成商业贿赂行为。执法实践中,执法机构判断经营者所赠财物是否属于上述豁免之列的标准,主要包括:

1、赠品的价值

虽然对于"小额"的界定尚无法律标准,但在目前的执法实践中,千元以上的财物普遍不被视为小额礼品。

2、赠品的形式

根据上述豁免条款的规定,财物的形式必须是符合商业惯例的广告礼品。因此,与经营者的产品、品牌或企业形象等无关的财物一般不为执法机构所认可。

上述案例中,邓禄普公司所赠送的苹果电脑、手机的价值偏高,且与企业的产品、品牌无关,故显然不会被执法机构视为"小额广告礼品"。而相对来说,附赠的汽车用品,特别是千斤顶、定位仪、拆胎机、钢圈等轮胎设备,则更符合轮胎行业的商业惯例,如果金额较小,则有被视为广告礼品的可能性。

(三)附赠的方式

虽然,国家工商行政管理总局在2000年的相关答复(工商公字[2000]246号)中明确规定:"'帐外暗中'是构成回扣的必要条件而不是构成其他商业贿赂行为的必要条件"。但现有的法律法规关于商业贿赂概念的界定标准较为模糊,故在个案中,为了规避行政诉讼败诉的风险,执法机构仍会试图证明经营者的附赠行为是在"帐外暗中"实施,从而坐实行为的违法性。在此轮反商业贿赂执法风暴中,涉案的轮胎企业普遍将赠品的开支以"宣传费"、"促销费"和"服务费"等名目,记入财务账中的经营费用或管理费用科目。对此,执法机构认为相关促销奖励应以商业折扣(在销售发票中注明)或事后返利(开具红字发票)的形式实施,相应的支出应在主营业务收入中予以扣除。涉案企业的财务处理方式违反财务会计制度,构成《禁止商业贿赂暂行规定》第五条第三款所规定的"帐外暗中"。

三、附赠式销售的合规建议

部分企业出于整体的商业策略考虑,不愿意适用折扣或返利等传统的商业营销模式,而"附赠式销售"作为一种同样有效的促销手段,普遍为此类企业所青睐。为了更好地发挥这一营销模式在商业活动中的积极作用,同时降低相关的法律风险,我们从企业合规的角度提出以下建议,以供参考。

(一)选择消费者作为"附赠式销售"的对象

根据法律规定和执法实践,任何针对消费者的促销手段,均不构成商业贿赂行为(但应同时注意是否构成不正当有奖销售等其他违法行为)。因此,如果上述汽车轮胎企业在相关促销合同中明确,相应的礼品只赠予购买产品的消费者,则此类"附赠式销售"行为不构成商业贿赂。即使下游经销商在实际执行相关促销活动时出现一定偏差,其法律责任也不应由汽车轮胎企业承担。

(二)限制赠品的价值及形式

如果"附赠式销售"的对象为其他经营者,则企业应充分注意所赠礼品的价值和形式,力求做到以下三点:

1、将赠品的价值限制在人民币一千元以下;

2、尽量减少销售额与赠品价值间的联系程度;

3、选择与经营者的产品、品牌或企业形象相关,具有广告宣传作用的礼品。

(三)以正确的形式开展"附赠式销售"

假若企业为使促销作用最大化,而坚持选择赠品价值与销售额相挂钩的"附赠式销售"模式,则可考虑通过以下形式开展,从而最大限度降低相应的法律风险:

1、将产品与赠品打包,以"套餐"形式予以销售。同时,按照相关财务会计制度的规定开具发票,并在正确的财务科目中予以明确如实记载。

2、如计划以"宣传费"、"促销费"和"服务费"的形式向购买产品的经销商附赠财物,则建议事先与受赠经销商就对应的宣传、服务活动达成协议,并保证相关的活动实际履行。对于存在对应宣传、服务内容的"附赠式销售"行为,一般不易被认定为商业贿赂行为。

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