Following an ACCC investigation, four furniture retailers have been issued with infringement notices for using ‘was/now’ price comparisons in advertising.

Plush – Think Sofas Pty Ltd (Plush), Koala & Tree Pty Ltd (trading as Koala Living), ESR Group Holdings Pty Ltd (trading as Early Settler), and Oz Design Furniture Pty Ltd each received an infringement notice.

The ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe each retailer made false or misleading representations by claiming that consumers would save money if they purchased certain furniture items when this was not the case.

The retailers used advertising statements such as ‘was $2599, now $2049’, or ‘$799, save $200’, when the furniture item had never been advertised at the ‘was’ price, or was only advertised at the ‘was’ price for a short period of time.

Find out more in our media release.

Under the Australian Consumer Law, businesses that make comparisons between prices being charged for products must ensure these statements are accurate and consumers are not mislead about the saving that may be achieved.

Statements such as 'was $150, now $100', ‘$150 now $100' or '$150 save $50' are likely to be misleading if products have not been sold at the specified 'before' or 'strike through' prices in a reasonable period before the sale commences.

Tips for businesses

  • Check that all statements you make to customers about savings are clear, accurate and not misleading.
  • Ensure your business records substantiate any two-price claims that you make.
  • Remember that a 'sale' or 'discounted' price should only be available for a limited period, because if a reasonable amount of time has elapsed and an item is still 'on sale', the discounted price effectively becomes the new selling price. It may be misleading or deceptive to continue to call it a 'discount' or 'sale' price.

Further information on two-price comparison advertising is available on the ACCC website at Advertising and selling guide: two-price comparison advertising and Displaying prices.

Kind regards,

Small Business team Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Source: ACCC