The Consumer Protection Act contains clauses applicable to marketing that offers consumers added bonuses or discounts. These added bonuses are ones that are subject to the purchase of something. The bonus may consist of:
- a combination offer, in which similar products are sold at a combined price, e.g. a handbag and a leather belt being sold together for a price of EUR X.
- a free gift for those who buy a specific product, e.g. a microwave for those who buy kitchen furniture.
- a bulk discount for several items of the same product, e.g. three chocolate bars for the price of two.
- special offers concerning campaign prices that are lower than usual. Duration of offers Marketing of limited-time offers must specify the start and end date of the offer.
Content and value of offer
Marketing of combination offers must specify the products included in the offer.
The value of the offer is the difference between the special package price and the cost of buying the products separately. Therefore, not only the combined price but the price of each product separately must be indicated. If the product cannot be bought separately, its nominal value must be indicated. If the price of a commodity purchased separately is less than 10 euros, the value need not be indicated.
The value of free gifts must be indicated in the same way as in combination offers.
Limited quantities and other limitations
Any terms that apply to a special offer must be indicated in marketing materials, including:
- if only a limited quantity of products is available to each customer.
- if a minimum quantity must be purchased in order to obtain the discount.
- if only a limited quantity of special-offer products is available in relation to the expected demand (the quantity must be specified so as not to mislead the consumer about the availability of the offer). If there are so few items available at the special offer price that they are likely to run out during the campaign, the marketing materials should specify the quantity of the products to allow the consumer to assess the availability of the special offer.
Consumers are entitled to demand that an advertised free gift be provided during the campaign. They are not obliged to accept an alternative product instead of the advertised gift.
Children are not able to assess the value of a free gift in the same way as adults. A free toy of insignificant monetary value may be more tempting to a child than the product itself, which makes it an easy way of influencing purchase decisions. Therefore, advertisers of products that may be of interest to children must ensure in particular that the presentation of a free gift does not assume the central focus of an advertisement or package.
The stipulations of the Consumer Protection Act concerning defective goods also apply to free gifts. Consumers may demand compensation from the vendor even if the free gift belongs to a product group that the store does not usually sell.
Compensation for defective goods