Four popular furniture stores have been issued with infringement notices over “false” and “misleading” was/now price comparisons.
Plush, Koala Living, Early Settler and Oz Design Furniture have each paid a penalty of $12,600 for allegedly misleading buyers into thinking they were saving money.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the retailers used advertising statements such as ‘was $2599, now $2049’, or ‘$799, save $200’, when the furniture item had never been advertised at the ‘was’ price, or was only advertised at the ‘was’ price for a short period of time.
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“The ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe each retailer had made false or misleading representations by claiming that consumers would save money if they purchased certain furniture items when this was not the case,” the ACCC said.
For example, one of the retailers advertised a ‘Roller Ottoman’ at a price of $539 with the words ‘save $360’, even though it was available for $449 directly before the sale.
Another advertised an occasional chair with the words ‘$799, save $200’, when its usual price for the previous six-months was $699, $100 cheaper than the sale price.
“Consumers rely on comparative pricing to find the best deal available. If there are no genuine savings, businesses are misleading consumers,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“Using claims of false savings to induce consumers to purchase products also disadvantages competing retailers which are complying with the law.
“The ACCC has taken this enforcement action to send a strong message to retailers that they must ensure that any claimed savings are accurate and based on a ‘before’ price which has been offered for a reasonable period when using comparison advertising,” Ms Court said.