A high discount rate is not always indication of a good bargain. Before chasing after impressive special offers, it is worth checking the product’s price in the online stores of competing retailers. This will let you know whether the price is accurate.
What to understand about special offers
A special offer is some form of exceptional benefit that consumers can receive for a limited period of time. If the low cost of an offer is emphasised, its price must be clearly lower than that normally charged by the seller for the same product. The marketing of special offers must indicate the timeframe of the campaign or the number of products on offer.
When a special offer runs out
Under law, consumers have the right to expect that a product is in stock at the time of its advertising. If a special offer runs out and the number of items is not specified in the advert, you have the right to purchase the product on offer or a similar item at a discount rate once it is again in stock. You can also demand that the retailer reimburse the costs of making a fruitless trip to the store.
Special offers must offer real discount
Price comparisons and discount rates are used to convey the impression that the seller is offering consumers a considerable discount. Consumers may not be mislead with unfounded claims of a discount. It is a violation of the Consumer Protection Act to base the discount on a price that the retailer has not previously charged at the same location. The same practice applies to online stores. Marketing practices in violation of the Consumer Protection Act should be reported to the Consumer Ombudsman. The reports will be used for supervisory purposes.
Always check the seller’s authenticity
If an online store offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Brand name products sold at cut-rate prices are unlikely to be authentic. Investigate the seller’s trustworthiness before ordering by running a web search, for example. Credits cards are a safe payment method in online shopping. Read more: Online shopping checklist.
If you encounter problems, try to first contact the seller. If the matter is not resolved, contact the Consumer Advisory Service for help. The European Consumer Centre in Finland can provide assistance if the seller is a company based in another EU state, Iceland or Norway.
Marketing and advertising