Published on Nov 25, 2019

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Four well-known furniture chains have come under criticism for allegedly advertising sham ‘was/now’ sales prices.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accused them of manipulating prices to create more attractive advertisements.

The retailers, including Plush, Koala Living, Early Settler and OzDesign Furniture will each have to pay $12,500 following an investigation by the consumer watchdog.

Each of the retailers were issued with an infringement notice after the ACCC believed they were manipulating “was/is” price comparisons to sell items.

The retailers used advertising statements such as “was $2599, now $2049”, 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.

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.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said businesses must be presenting genuine savings to advertise was/is prices for items they are selling.

“Using claims of false savings to induce consumers to purchase products also disadvantages competing retailers which are complying with the law,” Ms Court said.

“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.”

The ACCC can take action on businesses in any industry using claims of false savings, not just in the furniture industry.


Read original media release.

For more information on two-price comparison advertising go to Advertising and selling guide: two-price comparison advertising.