Online Christmas sales get a boost from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns. For this consumer tip we have put together some things that the consumer should know about the discount marketing campaigns of online shops.
Compare prices, not percentage discounts
Always look at the final price, because even a large percentage discount does not necessarily mean that the product is particularly affordable. Before making your purchase, you can find out the product’s true price level by comparing prices in different shops, ideally ahead of time. The discount should be calculated from the price that the same seller charged in the same retail premises immediately prior to the deal. Large percentage discounts can be created for example by increasing the price of a product around the time of the sale. Raising prices artificially immediately prior to a sale is, however, forbidden.
The price advertised in the online shop is binding in principle
When you have accepted an offer and ordered the product, you have the right to receive the product at the price advertised on the website. The seller can only state that the details were incorrect and withdraw from the sale under particular circumstances. If for example the consumer should have understood that the price was clearly wrong, then the seller is not obliged to honour the price. This is the case for example when the difference between the advertised price and the real price is significant, or the incorrect price can be seen as exceptionally low compared to the general price level. If a 600-euro television is sold for 60 euros, then it is likely to be a mistake. If the price according to the seller is different to the price that the consumer was offered when placing their order, then the seller must be able to provide reliable proof.
If the seller runs out of a discounted product
When a product runs out, you may have the right to a discounted price even after the Black Friday sale has ended. By law, the consumer has a right to assume that a product is available when an advertisement has been published. If the seller runs out of a discounted product and the advertisement does not limit the number of items available, then you have the right to buy the discounted product or an equivalent product at the discounted price when more stock arrives. You can also demand that the shop reimburses your travel costs if you make an unnecessary trip to the shop. Surprises can always occur, so the shop should prove that they acted correctly in order to avoid repaying the customer for their wasted journey.
Cancellation period and delivery charges
If you change your mind about a product purchased online, there is a 14-day cancellation period for most products, including discounted products. Remember to familiarise yourself with the cancellation terms and conditions, the delivery charges and potential charges that may occur when returning or exchanging a product before making your purchase.
Fraudsters are about
Fraudsters will also send out Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers. By sending out emails that are made to look like they have come from an online shop, fraudsters will for example try to lure users to a fake website and enter their payment details. Be careful! The safest way to pay for online purchases is by credit card.
If you need help solving a problem with a Finnish business, contact the Consumer Advisory Service. Advice on orders from the EU, Norway and Iceland is offered by the European Consumer Centre.