Consumer watchdog is going after fake webshop discounts

Too many webshops are offering fake discounts and those that continue to do so can soon expect a fine, the Dutch consumer authority ACM said on Tuesday.

The watchdog looked particularly at online retailers selling clothes, electronics and beds in the run up to the festive season and found a large proportion are not sticking to new rules, introduced at the beginning of this year.

“Consumers are influenced by price, and discounts are particularly seductive. But it has to be a real discount and not a trick to lure customers,” ACM director Edwin van Houten said.

“The rules for discounts are clear but we are still seeing too many websites offering fake discount. Consumers are being misled. It is also a form of unfair competition. It has to stop and that is why we are going after them,”

Officially, a price counts as a discount if there has been a cut in lowest price at which a product has been offered in the previous 30 days. This is not the case if the product is perishable, if it has not been on the market for that time, or if mounting discounts have been offered on the product, for instance from 10% to 20% to 30%.

The ACM found that some companies offered a discount on a higher price which was charged outside the 30-day limit, for instance, or put the original price next to a discount price for a smaller-sized version of the product.

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