13 October 2017
The Consumer Ombudsman has issued injunctions against Finsoffat Oy, Kruunukaluste Oy, Stemma Oy and Vepsäläinen Oy, as the companies have not corrected their misleading advertising despite promises to do so.
The Consumer Ombudsman has placed the marketing of furniture companies under special scrutiny since August 2016 in order to determine how percentages, comparison prices or other expressions referring to discounts are used in the marketing of the companies in the field. The following companies’ websites were monitored: Kruunukaluste Oy, Metropoli Kaluste Oy, Stemma Oy, Finsoffat Oy, Isku-Yhtymä Oy, Vepsäläinen Oy and JYSK Oy.
Monitoring showed that comparison prices, discount percentages and other expressions referring to discounts are used in the marketing of furniture to create an impression of major discounts. However, the products may never have been offered at the stated comparison prices at all, and the discount percentages have not always been genuine.
The Consumer Ombudsman admonished the companies that had been monitored that their marketing was illegal and required them to correct the deficiencies by a specified deadline. As Finsoffat, Kruunukaluste, Stemma and Vepsäläinen have not changed their practices despite promises to do so, the Consumer Ombudsman has issued injunctions against them. A conditional fine of EUR 100,000 has been issued in order to enforce the injunction.
Kruunukaluste has objected to the Consumer Ombudsman’s injunction, as a result of which the injunction has become void. The Consumer Ombudsman is considering bringing the matter to the Market Court.
The aim of using comparison prices and discount percentages is to create the impression in the minds of consumers that the discounts are considerable. A healthy price competition and discounts on products benefit consumers. However, misleading comparison prices and discount percentages hamper the consumers' understanding of the store's normal price levels and of the actual size of the advertised discount. The same phenomenon has also been seen in the sports equipment sector.
Consumer Ombudsman: Deceptive pricing in the furniture business, FCCA press release 7 March 2017