Five furnishing chains change pricing after OFT probe

Carpets Carpetright, Dreams, Furniture Village, Harveys and Bensons for Beds were investigated by OFT

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Carpetright and four other furnishing chains have agreed to change pricing practices, following an investigation by regulators.

The chains used some promotions which were not genuine, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found.

Carpetright, Dreams, Furniture Village, Harveys and Bensons for Beds were subject to the probe.

The firms confirmed a commitment to use genuine prices, but did not admit liability.

The chains had advertised some normal retail prices as "discounted" prices to shoppers, the OFT said.

The law on price promotions

aaa
  • Any price advantage claimed must be real
  • Price comparisons should be reasonable in terms of time
  • Previous prices used as reference prices should be genuine

Source: BIS Pricing Practices Guide (2010)

Comparing prices as a marketing tool, called "reference pricing", can be powerful, the OFT said.

"Retailers advertise bargains and discounts by referring to a previous or future higher price," said Gaucho Rasmussen, OFT goods and consumer group director.

"It's a powerful marketing tool which, when used properly, provides a helpful and easy way to demonstrate to shoppers the value of discounts and savings.

"We are therefore pleased that these retailers have confirmed their commitment to using genuine prices."

Carpetright executive chairman Lord Harris said: "We are pleased the OFT has publicly welcomed Carpetright's commitment to open and transparent pricing. When customers visit Carpetright they can be confident of getting good quality products at a competitive price, which is supported by our price promise."

In January two carpet chains, United Carpets and Floors2go, also changed pricing practices after an OFT investigation.

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