Investigations by the Consumer Ombudsman reveal that Maskun Kalustetalo Oy has violated the injunction imposed on it by the Market Court in 2009. In 2013 and 2014, the company advertised furniture discount sales in a way that obscured consumers’ understanding of its normal price levels and, consequently, of the actual benefit of the reduced prices.
The Consumer Ombudsman demands that the Market Court order the payment of the conditional fine and that it issue Maskun Kalustetalo with new injunctions due to its misleading discount sale marketing. The new injunctions should apply to unfounded, limited offers and the continuous discount sale of furniture other than sofas.
The Consumer Ombudsman also demands that the conditional fine imposed to lend force to the injunction be increased to EUR 300,000 because the 2009 injunction and the 2011 order to pay the fine have not prevented the company from violating the Consumer Protection Act.
Discount sale prices must be real. Long-running discount sale marketing is misleading because the prices of the goods are not genuinely lowered. Instead, the reduced prices become the store’s normal prices. Furthermore, a store cannot artificially increase furniture prices before discount sales and offer campaigns. It must calculate the reduction based on the price it has asked for the same product immediately before the discount sales began.
It is also misleading to announce the reduced price alongside the ordinary price and the reduction percentage if the store has mainly been selling the goods for the reduced price only. Furthermore, repeated marketing of limited offers is illegal because this gives consumers an unrealistic impression that the offers are unique.