In the sports equipment and furniture markets, in particular, companies or retailers often announce their discount prices as calculated from the ‘recommended price’, ‘recommended retail price’ or ‘suggested retail price’. Some retailers use the recommended retail prices determined by the manufacturer or some other party as the selling prices, while others determine their selling prices themselves. Therefore it is not outright prohibited to use the recommended retail price as the basis for calculating a discounted price, assuming that the retailer can demonstrate that the recommended retail price had been used as the actual selling price.
From the consumer’s perspective, however, the situation is problematic: the consumer has no way of knowing whether the recommended retail price referred to in an advertisement is the price at which the retailer has actually been selling the products or whether it is simply used as a benchmark to make the discount percentages larger. It is also unfortunate for companies that the practice regarding recommended retail prices is so inconsistent, as even companies acting in good faith may be met with suspicions of misleading marketing.
The price indication theme is discussed in several articles in the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 2/2015.
In her editorial, the Consumer Ombudsman Päivi Hentunen says that it is by no means a trivial question what the consumer policy programme of the next Finnish Government will be like. After all, consumer policy is not just for consumers: it benefits the entire national economy. Safeguarding consumer rights will increase consumers’ confidence in the market and in this way also encourage competition and growth in domestic demand.
The newsletter also covers topics such as the visit of the Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman’s office to Finland in March 2015 and a consumer perspective on the EU digital strategy. From the consumer’s perspective, the key issues in digitisation have to do with privacy, ownership of information and copyright. Innovative copyright regulation may prompt consumer-favourable trends in the development of digital markets.
Finnish Consumer Ombudsman’s Newsletter 2/2015