A discount sale means a reduction in the price of a product (incl. goods and services) previously priced by the seller. A discount sale is an offer with a time limitation, the discount prices of which must be based on the seller’s own prices.
The expressions ‘discount sale’ and ‘sale’ cannot be used to describe the affordability of the seller’s prices compared to competitors or the general price level.
A discount sale is a measurable price reduction (for example, -50%) or an expression that creates the impression of a price reduction (for example, a Christmas sale).
Goods previous lowest prices must be indicated in discount marketing
reduction. The obligation to indicate the lowest price applies to goods , but not to services.
The aim is to make discounts and discount sales more transparent to the consumer so that the consumer can better assess the affordability of an individual discount or the general price level of the seller’s goods
The obligation to indicate the lowest price also aims to prevent the seller from temporarily and artificially increasing the price of the goods and then offering the at a significant discount. This would create an impression of a unique high discount for the consumer, even though the goods has been sold at the same reduced price for a long time.
The lowest price must be indicated when the seller markets
- specific goods (including images of the goods and/or goods information) at reduced prices
- a price reduction concerning a wider non-specific range of goods (for example, all hair care goods -50%).
If a continuous marketing campaign lasts for a maximum of 60 days and the price reduction is gradually increased, the seller may indicate the price at which the goods have been marketed in the 30 days preceding the first price reduction as the lowest price.
Discount sale claims used in marketing must be accurate
The principles of discount marketing apply to all instances regardless of the sales channel, including online stores and businesses operating in online platforms.
The business must be able to substantiate the accuracy of marketing claims.
Examples of misleading discount marketing:·
- The price advantage to the consumer is not real. The seller may not advertise the price of the product as discounted if the offered price is not discounted from the sales price.
- Continuous discount sales can blur consumers’ perception of the normal price level and the actual advantage gained from the discount.
Discount sale products must be clearly visible in advertisements
Discount sales can concern the seller’s entire product range, or they can only concern a part of the range. Discount sale products must be advertised in a way that the consumer can clearly see which products are part of the discount sales.
If the discount sales are not defined or specified in the marketing, the seller’s entire product range is as a rule part of the discount sales.
Businesses: make sure that your discount marketing is not misleading
Are you looking for guidance on how to do discount sales, clearance sales, special offers and price comparisons? Use the checklists provided in the Consumer Ombudsman’s Guidelines (in finnish) to make sure that your discount marketing adheres to the main principles required by law.