Office of Fair Trading Investigating Misleading Furniture Pricing

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Hot on the heels of the big fine imposed on Tesco by Trading Standards in Birmingham over misleading discount strawberry prices in 2011, the OFT has announced it is investigating a number of retailers in the furniture and carpet sector for misleading relative pricing. The OFT says it thinks there is a case that the law has been broken and has written to the retailers to give them an opportunity to justify their actions.

The complaint is that in some cases items such as sofas are advertised as being sold at half of a price at which not a single sofa was ever actually sold. That is on top of the misleading element of keeping the supposedly discounted price advertised for so long that in reality it has become the new selling price and does not really represent a discount because the higher price is never going to be charged again (if it ever was).

The OFT is advising consumers to be careful in ascertaining the real price when trying to make comparisons between retailers.

Forbes is advising retailers to take care in using promotional and relative pricing, especially in the current regulatory environment, and to make sure that this undeniably effective method of selling doesn’t result in the kind of high profile trouble that is now affecting Tesco and others.

Contact the Business Law Team at Forbes for advice on the legal aspects of retailing and advertising.

Daniel Milnes

About Daniel Milnes

Dan is a Partner and Head of Contracts & Projects. Dan’s blogs cover the areas in which his specialities lie in commercial, regulatory and governance law which cover a broad range of matters dealing with contracts, projects, corporate and group structures, funding and compliance with a range of legal regimes including data protection. This also involves writing and advising on various forms of commercial contracts including joint ventures, development and construction agreements and intellectual property contracts including IT agreements, sponsorships and other rights licensing arrangements.
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