What if the promotions that constantly wave before your eyes each time you browse the web weren’t really promotions? According to UFC-Que Choisir, among a study sample of 6,586 ads with a crossed out price and published on the main e-commerce sites, only 3.4% are real promotions. Following this study, the consumer protection association filed a complaint against eight sites for misleading practices.
“In almost all of our sample (96.6%) [les professionnels] display promotions based not on price reductions over the last 30 days, but on the concept of so-called comparison pricesexplains the association. In this case, they freely choose a reference price with which to compare their product, so as to present their offer as a bargain not to be missed. The allegations identified (‘Recommended retail price’, ‘Originally’, ‘Old price’, ‘Average price on the marketplace’, ‘Average price on competing sites’, ‘Price provided by the seller’, etc. ) are as multiple as they are unintelligible.”
Concretely, UFC-Que Choisir explains that many brands inflate promotions by choosing a comparison price that often does not make sense. Thus, during promotional operations, it is not uncommon to see a comparison price that is already largely obsolete, such as the product’s release price, even though the latter has been on the market for a long time. Amazon, ASOS, Cdiscount, E.Leclerc, La Redoute, Rue du Commerce, Veepee, and Zalando are targeted by the association.
At the same time, UFC-Que Choisir has alerted the European Commission to the excesses of professionals and asks it to act in order to prohibit any reference price system other than that provided for by the Omnibus directive. This text “It has been required for a year that the display of a price reduction be made on the basis of the lowest price charged by the seller in the month preceding the entry into force of the promotion”.