If a retailer offers the same discounts continuously for more than two months or alternatively for more than three months per calendar year, the discounted prices are not actually considered discounted prices but rather permanent prices of the retailer. Advertising the price as a discounted price in such a case is deemed to constitute misleading advertising.
The Consumer Ombudsman has recently applied the above-referenced rules to the furniture companies Asko and Sotka, both belonging to the Indoor Group. According to the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, Asko and Sotka had violated said sales regulation in 2014 and 2015. Since Asko and Sotka have continued the unlawful sales marketing regardless of having been instructed on the issue by the Consumer Ombudsman on several occasions, it was, according to the Consumer Ombudsman, necessary to issue an injunction against Asko and Sotka. Moreover, a conditional fine of EUR 100,000 was also imposed on the companies.
Issues relating to advertising and pricing will also come under review by the Supreme Court of Finland in the near future as the Supreme Court has granted the Consumer Ombudsman leave to appeal in a comparative advertisement case against the sports chain XXL Sports & Outdoor Oy.
Author: Ilona Tulokas